Thursday, February 2, 2012

Health Insurance Deductibles Nearly Doubled in Just 7 Years and Premiums are Up 63%, While Aetna's Profits are Up 73%

Here is a good companion piece to my last post. If it seems like the amount of money you have had to pay for health insurance has been exploding recent years, but the coverage just keeps getting shittier and shittier, you now have proof that you aren't imagining things. A story from the New York Times this week spells out just how expensive health insurance is getting, even if you have coverage through your employer:
This is a great companion story to my last post. If you’ve seen your health insurance premiums increase along with your deductible, you’re not alone. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund shows just how much more consumers are paying for employer-provided health insurance.

Total premiums — the amount paid by both employers and workers combined — for family coverage rose 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, to nearly $14,000 a year, the study found. (The fund is a private foundation that researches health policy issues. The report includes an interactive map showing premium increases by state.)

Workers, meanwhile, are shouldering more of that burden. Their share of annual premiums increased by 63 percent over the same period. In 2010, employee premiums for family-plan coverage averaged about $3,700, up from roughly $2,300 back in 2003.

As a result, “many working families have seen little or no growth in wages as they have, in effect, traded off wage increases just to hold onto their health benefits,” the report found.

What’s more, employees are paying more for less, because of higher deductibles — the amount workers pay out of pocket before coverage kicks in. The average family deductible nearly doubled over the seven years studied, to almost $2,000 in 2010.
Given the above, it sure is comforting to know that the most highly paid parasite CEO in the health care industry was paid over $145 million last year. As I've said before on this blog, health care is yet another industry that is experiencing an unsustainable bubble that will surely pop in the near future.

Addendum: Hat tip to reader Nordom, who alerted me to the story below from Yahoo News after I had written the initial draft of this post:
Health insurer Aetna Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income jumped 73 percent, as it continued to benefit from low use of health care and some key expenses fell.

The Hartford, Conn., insurer's earnings and revenue topped Wall Street expectations due in part to slower-than-expected growth in health care use, a trend that has helped insurers routinely outperform the past several quarters. Many analysts expect this trend to continue into 2012.

Aetna said Wednesday that it earned $372.6 million, or $1.02 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That's up from $215.6 million, or 53 cents per share, in the 2010 quarter. Revenue climbed slightly to $8.57 billion.
But wait...there's more:
Many say a pullback in consumer spending due to the sluggish economy is behind the slower medical use growth.

WellPoint said last week that health care use rose in the fourth quarter but remained lower than normal, and trends were affected more by the cost of care than the number of people receiving it.
Or perhaps, given the first story above, people aren't making as many claims because THEY CAN'T FUCKING AFFORD TO PAY THE HIGHER DEDUCTIBLES. So allow me to extend a big ol' middle digit towards Aetna, and any other group of scumbag parasites who directly make massive profits by effectively denying people adequate health care.

Bonus: The new normal as told by a song

1 comment:

  1. Medical care is in flux,
    And access today really sucks;
    In times of slim pickens,
    Doctors took chickens,
    But now it’s about the big bucks.