Feds fire warning shot to health insurers
December 21st, 2010
12:55 PM ET

Feds fire warning shot to health insurers

Health insurance companies trying to bump up rates by more than 10 percent will have to answer to federal regulators, according to a new plan announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday.  The proposed rule explains how the government will oversee insurers as required by the massive health care bill – the Affordable Care Act – that was signed into law this spring.

After 2011, regulators will decide on a state-by-state basis which rates will be reviewed.

The process will determine which rate hikes are “unreasonable,” a tricky definition since “a 10 percent increase by a company that’s not had a rate increase in five years and is looking at a narrow profit margin, is not necessarily the same as a company that’s raised rates three years in a row and is looking at fat profits,” Sebelius said. “We decided we would start somewhere and we went with 10 percent, not as a definition of unreasonable, but as a figure that would bring scrutiny.”

As part of the scrutiny, proposals for large rate hikes will be posted online, along with each company’s justification for the increase.  A significant number of plans are likely to be affected; according to HHS,  hikes greater than 10 percent make up the majority of rate increases in the individual market over the past three years.

The new federal requirement does not replace but adds a layer to various state laws regulating insurers.  According to HHS, 43 of 50 states currently review health insurance rates.  In states without “an effective process,” HHS will conduct the review, said spokeswoman Jessica Santillo.

While federal regulators won’t have the power to block rate increases, insurers whose rate hikes are deemed “unreasonable” could be barred from insurance “exchanges” – the planned marketplaces where many companies and consumers will purchase coverage plans, starting in 2014.

The online postings will also discourage sharp hikes by making consumers better informed, Sebelius said.

Insurance companies and the public have 60 days to comment on the rules, before the new regulations take effect.

soundoff (1,296 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    Where does the federal authority come from? It can't be interstate commerce, because health insurance cannot be bought across state lines – I've yet to see an explanation of how it can be interstate commerce (for the purpose of the mandate) but not be for sale across state lines. Anyone have any insight? Don't the states already approve these rate adjustments?

    December 21, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam999999

      My guess is that their authority started when they passed the health care bill mandating that everyone has to have it. If they can do that then they should at least regulate the rates. Of course that should have been part of the original bill, since the insurance companies know more regualtion is coming and have jacked rates while they can. Mine just went up 35%. This 'Affordable Health Care Act' will only make it affordable for people who are going to get free health care. The rest of us are holding the bag.

      December 21, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      For those that said your HI went up 35%..your state has failed you..you must be in a "free market" state..so go be a free market! haha Suckers!

      Those that complain about obamacare, go live in your free market, i'm going to enjoy obamacare! Those that know about it, loves it...those that dont know Sh..hates it!

      December 21, 2010 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • Evolve

      I've been trying to figure that out also. I think the commerce clause is the Federal Government's catch all clause. Maybe they figure it's because people can get hurt or sick across state lines, even though they aren't allowed to shop across state lines. We humans must be the interstate commerce they are talking about. You know, like cattle or sheep.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • ScottK

      "When health insurance companies announce rate hikes, most states have laws that require some steps to be taken before the new rates take effect for state-regulated health policies. About two dozen states give the state insurance department or commission the legal power of prior approval, or disapproval, of certain types of rate changes.

      Of these, at least 16 states have broad approval authority that applies to all, or major segments, of health insurance policies regulated by them. These states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

      At least another 10 states have selective approval requirements for specific types of polices, such as individuals, small group or HMOs. These states are Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee. A new Washington state law applies to the individual market." – National Conference of State Legislators

      December 21, 2010 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
    • CW

      Insurance companies can not sale in states unless they are approved to sale in that state by that state dept of insurance. A claim center can be located anyone. They send claims overseas to be processed. An insurance compay license is renewed every so many years and the state can deny to renew. I worked for a large insurance company for 15 years and they would pull out a state that they could not make money in because of state relugations etc.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
    • brian

      see Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942).
      The government can regulate anything that affects interstate commerce even if the thing in question never crosses state lines.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • jheron

      I noticed Texas isn't on the list of states with any oversight on rates. They did however get their tort reform passed about 5 years ago which has done nothing to slow down the cost of healthcare.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You're looking at it from the wrong perspective. Since the only penalty would be exclusion from the government funded exchanges, their is technically no requirement to comply. Companies can keep going on with business as usual but they will miss out on the chance to sell insurance to people with government coupons. It will be there call as to whether or not they want to take advantage of that new consumer block.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @Matt: there is no national insurance plan. All carriers can apply to sell in a particular state, but that is mandated by the State and the state alone. Additionally, what coverage is offered in State 'A' is not necessarily what is offered in State 'B'. I would suggest you inform yourself a bit better before confirming to everyone that your comments are little more than talking points.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Captain Jones

      Radical thought here..... DID you read the actual law????? Try starting there....

      December 21, 2010 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • PGelsman

      Health Insurance CAN be bought across state lines. I live in Vegas but my healthcare policy is from NY.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • Mesa Mick

      It's called "oversight" not "regulation" and all it's gonna do is call out those companies that are like pigs at the trough. It's aboput time too. Besides, I prefer oversight and whistlw blowin' to regulation any day. Then again, if you prefer getting gouged then be my guest...Pay artifically inflated health insurance rates...

      December 21, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      When are they gonna go after health care companies like GEHA who raised their copays after sept 21?

      December 21, 2010 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
    • drunaus

      Actually, some health care plans can be brought accross state lines, depending on your policy type, for example ; Blue Cross Healthmate is a national coverage, state to state, accepted everywhere , like visa and mastercard say

      December 22, 2010 at 07:56 | Report abuse |
  2. ted davey


    December 21, 2010 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay Kay

      You're dang right we're being cheated. And the insurance companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      You would make more sense if yuo didnt type in caps.....

      December 21, 2010 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
    • Insurance DEMONS

      There is a special place in Hades for these insurance fat cats. I want to watch them roast.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Jonn

      Neverr filled a claim? If you are young, perhaps you should look into an HSA plan. High deductible, but you put money into your own account which is yours rather then paiying for nothing. Health Insurance companies are in it to make a profit. No profit, no company, no jobs – that is just how things work. Obama wants socialism which will totally ruin democracy. We are going the way of the former soviet union. After that collapse. Who wants to work for nothing?

      December 21, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • Running Bare

      Ever been to Aetna's corporate headquarters? THAT's where your money is going.

      And JONN, spare us the "history lesson" and go read a book, thanks.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Part of the reason for the raise in rates recently, is the newly enacted Obamacare – which requires additional coverage open to all – for no one to be cancelled due to severe disease process, no one to be denied coverage, and children being added on. It is simple dollars and cents --–with the increased coverage requirements – and Obamacare not paying for any of it..someone has to, and it is the current subscribers who will pick up the dime for Obamacare that is to cost us all less; or at least that is what we were told.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • ronjon

      No you are not being cheated. You are paying for others to enjoy their health care. Feel better? I didn't think so. Wait until it is mandatory to share your big screen HDTV with illegals on Monday nights.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  3. Amy

    Since when do insurance companies not offer insurance interstate? I live in NY and my insurance company is in KY. Just look at the back of your insurance card and see where to submit claims. That's the state where the insurance company is. I've never had insurance from a NY company.

    December 21, 2010 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff

      But aren't the policies state specific, or at least subject to the approval of each state they serve?

      December 21, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • rob

      i don't know the answer but i think processing centers would be in a different category. the policy of your home state is a separate thing and the policy details from that same company might be different for people with coverage in say omaha where the processing center is.

      December 21, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      I think the policies are specific to the group that is insured. For example, my employer contracts with an insurance company for specific co-pays and yearly limits, etc. Then I pay part of the monthly premium and my employer pays part of the premium. I'm sure other companies that insure with the same health insurance company have different policies.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • LAL11

      Insurance companies themselves may be national corporations, but they must register with each state in which they intend to sell policies. Each state has their own Insurance Code within the state statutes and the companies usually have various policies that conform to each state's code that they sell to residents of that state.
      I hope that clarifies some of the inter/intra-state confusion.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Mayor of Melonville

      Before you comment you should do some research. It is not legal to sell health insurance across state lines. Policies, coverages, and rates are state-specific. You may be covered in all states (like on vacation), and you may send premiums and claims to a location other than your state, but the plan itself can only be sold to residents of the specified state. Even Medigap works this way.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • AQ

      No, where you send claims for processing does not necessarily indicate where you insurance company is located. The comment by LAL11 explains it well. Also, I'm not sure, but I'd guess this applies to individual insurance policies that a person buys directly from the insurance company; I doubt this has anything to do with health insurance purchased through your employer. I really wish the news reporters would make that distinction when they report on this stuff.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:54 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      As long as the health care industry remains a for profit industry you will always have the industry making decision based on what's best for their business. As long as they are a for profit industry with profit margins, stock holders, dividends, etc you will have that cost built into what you pay for your health care. I believe in the free market and capitalism but health care companies should not be allowed to turn a profit, healthcare should be a non-profit industry. People should have the choice to buy (or not buy) whatever health insurance plan/coverage that they want.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • drabs

      The claims center where you're sending the claims into is not necessarily where the company is incorporated. It is just that, a claims center.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      @Amy – KY is an imaging address for claims processing. "Just look at the back of your insurance card and see where to submit claims." You said it yourself it is an address to submit claims, not the location of the insurance carrier.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  4. Jay

    I run a small company of 5 employees with an average salary of $45000. We just received a quote for health insurance, employee premiums are starting at $600 per month and family premiums are starting at $1700 per month and all of these policies have at least a $2000 per person deductable. These quotes are based on age and gender, we have not even given health histories yet. Insurance companies do not want to insure an office of 5 middle aged women therefore they make the premiums unrealistic!!!!!

    December 21, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rob

      health insurance is a real scam. there are millions who pay health insurance and never use the service each calendar year. for the company that is nothing but pure profit.

      December 21, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • Butter

      All insurances should be done away with. Cut out the middle man. They are NOT doing us any favors. Its better to just pay the doctors and hospitals directly because guess what, if insurances are gone, their prices will drop because they KNOW they have to cater to the patient now and not some large greedy corporation.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • JohnB

      I too own a small business in Austin, TX, with 11 employees, and my rates have risen more than 20% (28% this year) every year, yet my rates are way below yours (less than half), which is part of what makes the whole thing criminal. One of my employees has refused medical insurance...when she had to get an MRI, she was told that would be $1,800.00, but when she said she was self-pay with no insurance, the new rate was only $500.00. Our system is COMPLETELY broken and will collapse within a few more years, as the costs will be beyond what all but a select few can afford, (which I think a good part of this country wants it seems).

      December 21, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Actually, a company with only 5 employees cannot spread risk among a group of subscribers in a way that a larger 500-1000 employee company can. There is a profession called Actuary that analyzes these types of risks. Here is a description taken from Wikipedia: "Actuaries use skills in mathematics, economics, computer science, finance, probability and statistics, and business to help businesses assess the risk of certain events occurring and to formulate policies that minimize the cost of that risk."

      December 21, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • Running Bare

      JohnB, you can check out a CPT / HCPCS medical code website run by the AMA. There you'll find what Medicare "pays" for procedures vs out-of-pocket. Also, there's the Health Blue Book, but those prices are higher. Search by locale. These two sites prove the vast disparities in prices across regions. Some of the logic behind pricing is of course economies of scale, but other factors contribute. The fact is, everything is negotiable ... and temporary. Medicare copays is one of the trends driving physicians out of practice.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    To all the critics of the health care bill, to all those who say there is too much govt. You finally have an administration that doesn't let everyone take advantage of you. Health insurance is a huge ripoff. Since I started working 10 years ago, my premiums have risen by 10% or more every single year, sometimes by 20%. For those who aren't covered, we pay for their free health care too.

    December 21, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CMAC

      And you're OK with that?

      December 21, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • boocat

      CMAC – anytime someone who is not insured goes to the ER in th US, YOU are paying for it. Why is that so hard for you and others like you to understand??? Jeezy Creezy!!!

      December 21, 2010 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • blxbrg

      People without health insurance are still required to pay. Even for those who are unable, uninsured people only account for 2.7 percent of total health spending. Not even close to as much money as the insurance companies (and the teabaggers) want you to think.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      And there will always be the uninsured..............the majority – if not all of the millions of people currently out of work do not have the money to pay for insurance. And if this was 2014 – they wouldn't have the money to pay the fine either. This is just all a lead in to less treatment for more money. Had the existing system only been modified to specific needs – like coverage not being able to be denied due to pre-existing conditions.........and regulating rates.........the premium costs would not need to be so jacked up.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • TWM

      You realize that because of Obummer care rates rose. The companes knowing they will have to fund a huge increase in customers and claims have to prepare for the inevitable. Watch for another huge increase in 2011 and as justification: simple health cost continue to rise and we now insure more people with more health risks. We haveto raise the rates to cover the increase in claims. This Bill is a failure on so many levels it is funny.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  6. Tray

    My insurance company and employer uped my deductible to $3500. I'm a single mom of 2 and in no way can afford this deductible.These companies are getting rediculous and something needs done. Just so I get this straight, when this health care bill goes into affect I will have a $3500 deductible or have no insurance and have to pay a fine....Yeah those options are a lot of help!

    December 21, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      My wife recently had to have back surgery (no accident or single incident caused it, so no worker's comp, etc.). The hospital, doctor, medicine, etc. bills came to about $160,000! With insurance with a deductible, copay, and coinsurance to a yearly cap, our out-of-pocket expenses came to about $5000. Of the rest, the insurance company negotiated away about $75,000 of the charges and paid the other $80,000.

      So your high deductible plan might sound bad for regular doctor visits, etc., but keep in mind that well checks can no longer have a copay at all. And if you get horribly sick or have a bad accident or need surgery, that high-deductible plan is so much better than having no insurance at all. Paying a few thousand dollars out of pocket wasn't fun, but we kept our house and our car and most of our retirement savings.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Tray – you won't have to pay a fine if you don't buy health insurance. You won't get a tax credit...but you won't have to pay a fine (or any higher taxes than you do now). In other words, you won't be punished...you just won't be rewarded.

      I feel your frustration though – it's sickening how abusive the health insurance industry has become. I so wish we'd implemented a public option so people like you would have an alternative to being taken advantage of by a "for profit" insurer. Maybe next time we'll get the public option added!

      December 21, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • KatR

      First off....the mandatory part doesn't kick in until 2014...so you're safe for the upcoming year. But I think you need to do some checking into this....email the White House. As I understood the new law...ins. companies can no longer require a deductible, no more lifetime maximums, and a yearly limit on co-pays. My new policy is that way. But they did raise the monthly premium by $140. As such, was glad to read this article that HHS is looking into the increases in premiums.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      @Jeff...the penalty is still in place of $1000 per person who does not purchase insurance. That has never gone away although will not be collected by the IRS until 2014.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  7. Dale

    Work for the gov't , have always had Mail Handlers. The last two years, MHBP my part of premium rose to nearly 42%, this year it went up to 47% based on last years premium, they do offer now a "VALUE" plan, very High Deductible, higher co pay 9forcing alot of families into this option, becuase more liability of claim is on family – I do not understand why OPM allows this plan based on other plans they offer which were lower in the increase.they have no dental so you have to purchase there denatl seperatley , so that is another 100 a month.....record profits – they need to bescrutinized at a lower percent, not 10

    December 21, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seraphim0

      Dale, you are getting robbed. I live in Chicago. Our average state increase this year (by Mesirow research) is around 25 to 28%. My company renewed at 14%. 45% and higher? Heck, 35%... you guys have HR departments that are NOT doing their job to get the best benefits for you. They HAVE to be just nodding to whatever the insurance companies are offering.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
  8. J

    Health insurance companies should be allowed to charge more for smokers and people who are morbidly obese. Just like auto insurance, the people who are the worst risks should pay more. I am tired of subsidizing other people's poor life choices.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Billy

      I am a smoker and I agree with you as long as it is somewhat proportional to the increased costs associated with a given lifestyle. But I also want all of the money I spend in taxes for ciggarettes to go to smokers heath care or anti-smoking education, currently this money is being used as a tax grab bag for everything under the sun.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
    • Evolve

      They do. Unless you're part of a special package deal, smokers are generally charged more. Not sure about the morbidly obese though.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • Chas in Iowa

      News flash "J".
      Health insurance companies have been charging smokers more in premiums for years (As well as life insurance companies).
      I'd like to see some way to preserve someones insurance once they become croniclly ill. Big insurance has this system,.....you pay all your life and as soon as you get sick, your dropped. Now after 2014 when they can no longer drop you they will make it so you can't afford to stay on after you become ill by escallating your increases in premiums.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • J

      Or the money can go to health care for the victims of second hand smoke. No one is forcing smokers to pay high taxes on cigarettes. Smokers are choosing to do it. I don't see any logic in having this tax benefit smokers in the long run. Also, I know a lot of otherwise intelligent, well educated people who smoke, so education is clearly not the answer. Just continue to hit people in the pocket book and put the burden on those making bad choices.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • J

      Chas in Iowa – If you get your health insurance through you work, there is no difference in your premium if you are a smoker or non-smoker. If you buy it on your own, then yes, that risk is assessed. However, most people have their health insurance through work.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      My employer has indicated that, in the next year or two, they plan to start charging different amounts based on lifestyle choices. They claim to have research 70% of health issues (diabetes, heart failure, cancer) are caused by lifestyle choices, not by things we cannot control, and so people who fall into categories where they make poor choices are going to start to pay more.

      They'll probably do it by raising everyone's rates, then giving discounts to people who pass annual screenings. Provided the specific results are confidential, and all my doctor tells my employer is that "this person is eligible for the discount" or "not eligible" it's probably legal; eligible people could be healthy or could have a problem not due to a lifestyle choice.

      I'm not 100% comfortable with this, but I'm more comfortable with it than with TSA screenings, for example, and yet most people seem just fine with those. So I assume most people would be okay with this as well.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • Necrosis

      I find the attacks on smokers and obese people somewhat misplaced. For all of you health conscious people out there, I have a question: You do realize that you, yourselves, are going to die of something, correct? And passing peacefully in your sleep is a rather unusual way to go. Even most of you will die of cancer or heart disease, but you will do so at a later age than a smoker or overweight person. You will still be a burden on the healthcare system at some point and will contribute to rising healthcare costs. And just living longer increases your chances of developing diseases that need long term care that a smoker, say, won't live long enough to develop.
      P.S. I quit smoking over 20 years ago and am not obese. I do think that many "health conscious" individuals live in a state of denial regarding their mortality.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
    • lk

      I work for a very large self insured company that uses BCBS to manage the claims. Thankfully premiums are low due to a large group size (I pay 130 per month single for PPO with $250 deductible). However, starting last year if you are a smoker you pay double (260 per month single). Also if your spouse has the ability to get insurance through his/her work you pay an extra $50 per paycheck added to the spouse plus one or family rate. They have started giving cash incentives to complete wellness quizzes etc and they do offer free smoking cessation. I would expect to see BMI, blood pressure etc being added in the future.

      December 21, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
  9. ProperVillain

    Yeah, that'll scare them into submission. The insurance companies next move will be to line the pockets of their lap dog senators and congressman to make the problem go away. I have zero faith in government at any level protecting the average citizen from anything.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sniffit

      They already did that. They also gave the Chamber of Commerce something like $87B to fight the HCR Bill.

      I'll pause here so that can sink in...in the context of discussing the "need" for rate hikes.

      Now, if the next thoughts to enter your brain are not "wait a second....how can companies claiming a tiny profit margin and a giant struggle to meet the needs of their insureds...how is it they can 'scrounge' up $87B+ to lobby the gov't and create political advertising while paying their upper echelon management umpteen million dollars per year...and who the frig is going to pay for that in the long run?" then you are a complete retard and should go stand in line to receive your standard issue GOP/Teatard tinfoil hat idea reception device. I hear they have a new model.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
  10. Anon

    This calendar year our premiums were raised to almost twice what they were last year. The benefit coordination company who administers this on behalf of Cigna said that the reason was because our company is using the benefits too much, and that is their justification. Funny how we are using them too much right when the new healthcare bill is passed. It is an average of about $1500 for a family plan and about a third of that is paid for by our company. We are a small company with many folks on commission, so that healthcare premium pretty much eats up a whole paycheck depending on which employee you're talking about.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seraphim0

      Anon- Utilization (the frequency/number of claims made) is actually a big part of the renwal rate negotiations. Companies with high utilziationr ates get charged more for their premiums. However, the timing is about odd. Additionally... if you rates are doubling, something is severely wrong. Your company might have cut back how much they contribute for a rate increase that high.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  11. Evolve

    My rates went up 100% two years ago, and now they say something? Thanks gov., but I had drop my insurance because I had to eat, so they can raise them 1000% for all it matters.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bigger Picture

    Next time you guys are at the doctor's office, be sure to ask them why an MRI costs $2k.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      Because the hospital has to maintain the overhead to bill to numerous different insurance companies in very specific, certain ways, coded differently, in different formats, with different deadlines, offices, and approvals – and if anything is off by a digit, the insurance company will not pay at all. Oh, and the hospital has to have an approved agreement on top of that, if the agreement is signed a day late, the hospital does not get paid. I have been through this and my small company lost 100k just due to insurance company pettiness.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • LAL11

      To start with, MRI machines cost anywhere from $1mil to $3 mil dollars. So part of the price is paying for the machine. Then, they have to pay the salaries of the nurse and technician who take the MRI. Then they have to pay for liability insurance for that nurse and technician as well. Then, they have to charge a little extra to cover the amounts that they will write off each year for people who can't afford to pay for the MRI.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • KeepItSimple

      All critics of new health care law,
      If you have been paying for your health insurance in last 10 years, you know the deal already. Do you want to say that you would want the same system to continue for your future as well because you find that to be the best possible system? If that is your stand, there is nothing for me or anybody to say because you would not change your stand. I am just fine with the fact that majority does not believe so. I am all for what the new law strives to achieve. It might still fail but at least the failure would not be due to the lack of action from legislation.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Cost is one thing when it comes to charges for medical exams. Working @ an MRI facility I can tell you we charge $2450.00 as what we fee the value for the study is. The overhead of running a medical practice, along with a $5,000,000 MRI machine, and all the cost that come along with that are not cheap. That being said, our expected reimbursement on most studies, depending on the complexity of the scan is about an average of $375-750. A little tip for the unisured in regards to diagnostic imaging...#1 never go to a hospital, always look for an independent testing facility...#2 Be up front with the IDTF and tell them you are cash pay, and ask them if you can have them accept an amount that would be paid if you had for example medicare or maybe another health insurance. We generally cash pay our self pay MRI between 375-750, again depending on the complexity. Trust me the IDTF will take the cash in hand so they do not have go through the BS that is claim in the medical field.

      Now to the point of the original article. There does need to be some oversight on this because, while the insurance companies are increasing the premiums for the members they are decreasing the reimbursement for the providers, denying more treatment, and generally just stealing the premiums. The devaluing of the price of medical procedures below a certain point will most likely lead to a healthcare system of overcrowded hospitals because IDTF's will not be able to stay open. Humana for example in the central florida market just put a contract out for 50% of the medicare reimbursement on their capitated plans....so instead of study paying $350, now its 175? I bet the members on this plan did not see any of those savings Its all going to line the pockets of the Insurance company.

      December 21, 2010 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
  13. GeezLazyPeople

    For those of you that say Insurance is a huge rip off... put your money where you mouth is and just cancel your insurance. I'm betting your tone will suddenly change.. "but but but ..... I need it if I get sick". *shocker*.. that's exactly the meaning behind insurance. You don't buy health insurance after you get sick, just like you don't buy life insurance after you're dead.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anon

      Why would you need it if you get sick when the insurance companies will find a way out of paying for the tests and procedures you need when you do get sick? All those premiums paid for nothing...

      Regulation on this industry is long overdue, but whether it will happen and actually make the system better is left to the future to be determined.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Tray

      Well when you have a deductible of $3500 the insurance isnt paying schit if I get sick.

      December 21, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Have you not been paying attention at all? The whole problem is that people who DO pay for insurance coverage get screwed by the insurance company when they DO get sick. It's not just about not wanting to pay high premiums, it's also about the insurance companies making a huge profit off of just refusing to pay their part of the medical bills for whatever reason. Many people who do have insurance are bankrupt because 1.) they pay outrageous insurance premiums and 2.) when they get sick the insurance companies don't help them pay their bills. After thousands and thousands of dollars in premiums, they get dropped. It's a good way to make money, that's for sure.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Anon............Medicare refused more treatment requests last year than all insurance companys combined. Obamacare is mirrored from Medicare and the Veterans Administration – both of which approve treatment via treatment prodicals that are established in 'stone'. if Obamacare gets that far – expect same or higher rate in premiums and treatment panels that by history have a higher denial of treatment % than current insurance companys.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
  14. Julie Labrouste

    Health "care" insurers are greedy murderers; leaving them to “decide” what they will and won’t approve is like leaving a pedophile to watch over the children in a daycare center.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Smoker

    Health insurance companies are charging higher rates if you are a smoker – my company just had open enrollment and there were two different sets of premiums – one for non-smoker and one for smokers – if you were a smoker you also had an option to enroll in a smoking cessation program to help you quit. I'm not sure about obese individuals. I'm taking my chances this year with a high deductible plan and a health savings account. My family is rarely sick and we sink thousands each year into premiums...now were are paying very little in premium and hope that savings account will build. It only takes one catastrophic illness or injury to kill that idea...but I'm gonna gamble.....health insurance is nuts...I needed a medical degree to understand the packet given to me by my employer...here's to good health in 2011

    December 21, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Friendly advice

      "My family is rarely sick and we sink thousands each year into premiums...now were are paying very little in premium and hope that savings account will build."

      Read the fine print on your medical savings account...they don't roll over. If you don't use it all in a calendar year, you lose whatever is left. If your family is rarely sick, then all that money will be lost.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • AQ

      To "Friendly advice": You are incorrect. Health Savings Accounts (HSA) do roll over to the next year; nothing is lost.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • JG

      AQ, you are correct, HSA's do roll over. Maybe "Friendly Advice" is thinking about an FSA which is a use it or lose it plan. Also, to all those people who complain about your employers moving to a high deductable plan, try to keep in mind their stress. I am a business owner and I have to worry about covering this increased cost, most likely increased taxes in the future, a bad economy, while keeping everyone employed. Just be happy your employer offers insurance. Also, $3500 isn't a horrible deductable when you consider having a child now costs close to $30K and a heart surgery is well over $100K.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
  16. randy

    I hope they are looking at the big pharma companies as well , which is a big reason for rising healthcare rates.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anon

      Absolutely right! I have a relative who works for Merck – one of the evil pharma empires. He actually bragged that their pharmacists are more interested in treating illnesses than curing them. His logic, "How would we make money if we were curing diseases rather than treating them long term?" All their pharmacists should be jailed for their crimes against Americans and withholding life-saving medicine just to make a cheap buck.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
  17. RLF

    My wife and I joined Aetna Health insurance; in one year they increased our insurance by 10% siting increased cost from doctors, Hospitals, and drug prescriptions. With this new law who is going to be overseeing these increases and how can we file a complaint now & to wh0?

    December 21, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tim

    I live in Canada, health care is free... Funny that so many American citizens (ie/ Tea Party) argue against universal coverage and government involvement and then complain more when insurance companies are making billions of dollars because of it.

    December 21, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry Miller

      No, your health care is not free, you just pay for it by different means.

      And, depending on your situation, you're most likely either sponging off people who pay more taxes than you do, or you're being soaked by people paying less in taxes.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
    • boocat

      Tim – you have to understand the USA has the stupidest people on the planet. Hence the recent election. Would Canadians vote against their own interests? I think not. But Americans do because they're stupid and lazy and would rather watch insipid tv shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars instead of learning about things that matter.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Henry Miller is a clueless CLOD

      I agree. Canada as well as France, England, and many other countries pay taxes just like we do and get universal health care. Guess what? If your citizens are ill, the whole country suffers. Look at the state of America, its in complete shambles. Healthcare IS a priority in many places and I for one am glad that my taxes are going to taking care of not only MY HEALTH but for everyone else here. Stop being BRAINWASHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 21, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Tim said: I live in Canada, health care is free...

      No, no it is not. SOMEBODY pays for it. If that someone is the government, then you have chosen to hand responsibility fo ryour well being over to your government. If you are no longer responsible for yourself, what responsibility DO you have? If you do not have responsibility for yourself, what freedom do you have ot make choices for yourself?

      The government of the United States of America was designed to be as small and unobtrusive as possible, so that individuals would remain free to do what they prefer, so long as they do nothing to infringe on the rights of others.

      Our Founding Fathers forecast that our nation would fail to be the nation they designed once people realized they could use the government to force other people to bear the costs of their private choices. We've been straying from the intended path for roughly a century. Those who want to be taken care of celebrate the divergence. Those who want people ot be individually responsible for themselves are trying to figure out how to peacefully restore our nation to the intended path.

      The fact that you celebrate having others care for you does not mean that you have the right to force me to agree with you.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Free to you, loser.

      December 21, 2010 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
    • drabs

      It also takes 6 weeks to get an appointment for an MRI in Canada. That's way too long!

      December 21, 2010 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
  19. Darsidius

    I love the people who want to up the cost for smokers or obese people (I just quit smoking over a year ago and I am not obese). Imagine if they did this, what is to stop them from raising the rates on people who go rock climbing or play more sports, or drive motorcycles, bad path to start down.

    Anyway the rates will continue to rise until their is a public option. In my opinion that is the only solution and for those of you against a public option let me ask you this: If it is ok for a private company to profit off the pain and suffering of others why are any drugs illegal considering a drug dealer does the same thing.

    I mean seriously my wife is having our second child this year and it would cost us 8,000$ to have her at a hosptial, 8,000$!!!!! to have a child, that is with the lovely HSA that I have which still cost me 15,000$ a year with an 8,000$ deductilble. This is just plain wrong, we are choosing to have our child at home due to this as that will only cost us 2500$ much cheaper than the damn hospital.

    A public option is just the only way, I mean I beleive in free enterprise and all that but some things just have to be different, its not like cancer has been cured or anything, the rise in cost is just BS, just so they can make more money. It is not like an insurance company does anything, they move money from here to there and file paper work.

    I like you Christ, your Christians not so much, they are so unlike your Christ

    December 21, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • boocat

      Love the last line of your comment. Whenever someone comes to me and says they're "christian" I run the other way. They are the most evil and arrogant people I have ever met and I try to avoid them....

      December 21, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
    • Having a baby

      I have insurance through an PPO, I only opted to have it because I knew I was pregnant and didn't want to quit my job just to go on Medicaid. From the time that I started paying premiums, to exactly what I expect to pay to have the baby in the hospital, after all is said and done I am looking at paying (with deductible, co-insurance, premiums, etc) $7,500, because they will cover me but not the baby (the baby is no longer me once it is out and the cost to add children to the plan is more than just paying for the baby's expenses in the hospital). That's a savings of about $6,000 if I had no insurance and just walked straight into the hospital. Doesn't seem like the insurance is really saving me all that much. With Medicaid I would have paid $0.00 for everything.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
  20. Jim

    The cost of my university student helath insurance was $150 a semester in 2000, I went back for a graduate degree in 2007 and the cost had gone up t0 $870 a semester.... 10%?? How about 580% in 7 years!

    December 21, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. sean

    only 10%?!?! Sounds like they're going to evaluate almost every single rate increase for reasonability.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. AQ

    Insurance premiums increase because the underlying cost of care increases.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. boocat

    Henry Miller – you have just proven your own ignorance by your comment to Tim. (I told you Tim – Americans are stupid) Who the hell thinks who pays for people to get medical care or who have to go to the ER in this country when they don't have any health insurance? Look in the mirror. If we had universal healthcare we wouldn't be paying what we are now. Costs would go down. But you go ahead and keep believing the lies and b.s. that you believe.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Dan

    Health Care cost trends are 11-14% annually. I suggest the government starts forcing fat people to eat less, and baby boomers to stop aging.......

    December 21, 2010 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. mrsleo80

    At this writing, I am fortunate enough to have a husband whose company pays for their health coverage, to the tune of $25G for the family plan, but now because I am also employed, the overseers of the health plan, not the insurance company themselves, have deemed that since it would cost less than 5% of my pay for me to have it through MY employer, I am being forced to get it through my employer as secondary coverage so that they don't have to pay for everything...ironically, the insurance company I am probably going to choose is the SAME insurance company that already covers us under my husband's plan...

    December 21, 2010 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SHAWN C

      ha ha ...like that ...that'll show them....those greedy suckers.......

      December 21, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
  26. mrsleo80

    so basically the health care premiums that will be paid will amount to about $40,000./year for myself, my husband, and two sons...will we ever use THAT amount ...hard to tell at this point in time since we have been in reasonably good health up until now... but I wonder if it WILL when we ever do need it...

    December 21, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Texas Harry

    Well I do live in Texas and I can tell you that there is NO oversight. Anything that must be approved (and I use the term loosely here) is merely rubber stamped. Highest home insurance rates in the nation...Hmmmmm...see any correlation between the rates and a Republican controlled legislature?

    Oh yes, I forgot that we also deregulated the electric rates here as well - and true to form, we have some of the highest rates in the country.

    Go Republicans! We had a chance at setting up a fair health care system in the good old USA, but the Republicans killed any chance of that. If you get sick, die quickly or face ruin to your personal finances!! That is the Texas way.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JinNJ

      Harry come on now. Low corporate taxes, cheap land, proximity to Mexican markets and a laissez-faire regulatory atmosphere has made Texas a welcoming place for businesses. Low home prices and no state income tax are also a draw for new residents, over 20% growth according to the census. Consider: The cost of living in Dallas is about two-thirds of what it is in Los Angeles. Sounds horrible. Please explain how price fixing actually reduces cost.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  28. Unbelievable

    Are the insurance companies totally to blame. I recently had a hospital stay which they originally classified as a mild heart attack but after multiple tests that all came back good...and in line w what I told them the whole time...they discharged me w a blurb of "non cardiac"...The 2 min ride in an ambulance from the first hospital to a waiting helicopter...7K...the 10 minute helicopter ride....29K....Hospital Bill so far....42K...I was in for 3 days. Where as I appreciate the work that they did...there was nothing....especially the "taxi rides"...that was worth what they charged. Had they said..."Hey the helicopter ride is 29K" I would have told them I was driving myself. My poor insurance company has to pay most of this and I'm stuck w an 8K bill. Who the hell determines the costs of these services...it's certainly not free market capitalism...I know the uninsureds costs are built into this but COME ON! REALLY? No wonder Health Insurance costs go up when these crooks charge this insane amount of money to maintain their lifestyles

    December 21, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Helmetbreaker

    ObamaCare keeps tracking along till we have a pure socialistic health system! This is Obama's way of destroying any profit and closing down private insurance. ObamaCare calls for sweeping changes in coverage and now the Dumbocrats want to make sure the insurance companies can't cover the cost and the federal government will take over. If you think DC can run a health system, you're smoking too much weed!

    December 21, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Link

    Boocat, you're the pinhead, because under Nobama care, you'll keep paying for the crackheads and illegals using the ER for free, but now you also get to pay the healthcare of your lazy, shiftless neighbors who will now realize that they too can get their healthcare on your tax dime instead of taking responsibility for their own lives. Just another way for the libtards to dope the public away from being responsible for taking care of themselves. Why work or pay bills if a lazy majority can elect someone to tax (steal) the money away from the harder-working thrifty responsible minority.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Texas Harry

    Pinheads....Dan and Link seem to fit the bill nicely.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. markhh

    To all those who are annoyed that the federal government can put a cap on insurance rates, when was the last time you went to the hospital for a mundane procedure and ended up owing $10,000 out of pocket (and that's with good insurance coverage)? If you haven't, just wait, it will only be much worse because a good number of you will be experiencing brain tumors, prostrate cancer, breast cancer...you name it. These are big ticket items. Let's face it, free market capitalism is largely dead. Too many people and not enough resources. So what's the alternative? You share the wealth. Oh!, you say...I can't do that...there's a lot of lazy people on welfare that I would be supporting and I wouldn't be able to afford a new SUV for my daughter who's now going to an expensive school. Get over it, there's a lot more going on that you'll never be able to control to liking of your greed. In fact, your wife or husband may be boinking the next door neighbor as you're reading this.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. detada

    Start with UHC. My premiums for 2011 increased by 20%.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. mrsleo80

    are health insurance companies publicly traded? seem to think i might need to buy into them to make up some money .... $2 for them, $1 for me

    December 21, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jimi

    I'm puzzled – the government hasn't got the will to go for state-provided Healthcare but it is now trying to impose 'fair' rates. Either get in the insurance business or stay out – being half in, half out is a recipe for disaster.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. mrsleo80

    tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, tornados, blizzards........hhhhmmmm maybe we won't be needing healthcare after all

    December 21, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. CW

    To people who blame the insurance companies: don't purchase insurance. If you think they provide no service and cost more money just put your premiums away into a bank account and use that to pay your medical expenses. No one is making you purchase health insurance (until Obama care.)

    The truth is that you won't do this because hospital costs are very high and that's the underlying reason for high insurance premiums. You are also forgetting all the people under permanent hospital care and the uninsured - all those people that healthy people in society have to pay for.

    How exactly is single payer going to solve this? The only way for premiums to stay low for everybody is to have non-actuarially-sound rates. For a normal company this would be bankruptcy but for the government, they can just run in the red and take money from other places and subsidies health insurance. In the end, though, it's just a hall of mirrors. Either we pay through our premiums or we pay through our taxes.

    I just think the government is going to be less efficient then private insurance companies. Those administrative costs that insurance companies have, government can't escape those, and since they usually don't minimize costs it will be another bloated bureaucracy
    (monopoly). Oh you're premiums will be nice and low – and you won't know how much a doctor really charges because everyone will have health insurance - but you'll be paying more in the end; even if you won't know about it.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Crady

    Our insurance was bumped up 30% immediately after Obamacare was signed into law. Oh THANK YOU SO MUCH Emperor Obama for lowering my healthcare costs by INCREASING them thirty percent!!! What a pathetic joke. The right tried desperately to warn everyone that Obamacare was a ruse to get more government control and that it would in fact, cause costs to soar. Well, here it is folks. That "genius" you voted in has ruined everything he's touched over the past 2 years, and now he's taking control of the WEB!!! Net Neutrality = NEW INTERNET TAXES AND HIGHER ISP FEES. Idiots!

    December 21, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert


      December 21, 2010 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
  39. darlintechie

    Heath Savings Accounts do roll over from year to year and can only have a certain amount added to them each year whether you are a single or a family. It is an Flexible Spending Acount that doesn't. Get your facts straight. And yes Insurance companies do charge more if your are morbidly obese or a smoker, but you don't have to get the insurance with the company that does this. Good luck finding a company that doesn't do this, though. Come 2014, you may not be charge like this, but that is only if Congress ever gets their health care bill straight and official. If you are obese or a smoker your are a higher risk applicant and rated differently.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kansas

    Kathleen Sebelius, our former Governor (Kansas), must know that my group insurance rate for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas just went up for the third year in a row, AND went up 55% for just the difference between 2010 & 2011 (what a joke this article is). Hey Kathleen, what about your home turf? Are you going to flex your big federal muscle and help us out? Your words (warnings) are not bothering the big boys here in your home town of Topeka.

    December 21, 2010 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. hmmm

    Would you work for 50% less? Then why expect the health insurance industry to? They will not take a profit cut and either service will deteriorate to the point that you effectively have no health insurance, or costs will rise to cover the expenses (paying claims and administration, including both low level and upper level positions). You can legislate forms of “efficiency” (such as how much must be paid for claims as in the current bill), but remember that when you have health insurance “companies” run by minimum wage high-school drop-outs that can’t find a job doing anything else. In the end, the government will provide “healthcare,” which will suck, to the lower class while the upper class can afford to pay for their own medical care, insured or otherwise. Kinda like what you have now, except that it will create fertile ground for litigation and government bureaucracy.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Do quit whining!

    Most states require you to carry car insurance. Each policy is tailored to the individual or family.
    Change health insurance to this type of policy with regulations and prices are sure to go down.
    If I was fat and smoked cigars, I'd probably have Type 2 diabetes and cancer. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to pay my share of the costs. However, if I was 20, thin, and stacked... I could just get some sugar daddy to pay my premium for me like he would with my car insurance. Lol

    December 21, 2010 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RayCT

      What is your point?
      Car insurance premiums are not even on the radar for the working class.
      Who gives a rat ass about car insurance premiums?
      Yes every bill hurts but a $1.5k yearly premium versus $24k?
      Who's fat and smokes by the way?
      Who has diabetes and cancer and affordable health care?
      What is affordable health care to you? You being a family of 5. Dad works. Mom watches the kids?
      For the financially responsible family person health care is a must train,bike,legs can replace the car.

      Whining? I'd say its here is the scenario. Its bordering on ludicrous lets do something about it.
      Can the government fix it. No not with the education level we have on average in this country. What then?
      Consumer driven health care $20k deductible low monthly premiums.Great.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
  43. RayCT

    My family plan is getting bumped 15% this year and 15% next year.
    It'll put me over $24k a year. That's a group plan in Connecticut. The way I look at it is the first $100 a day I make goes to the health care. The next $50 the mortgage payment. The next $100 taxes. The next $40 is groceries and similar. What falls short is saving for retirement and tuition assistance for my kids.
    Look on the bright side..someones making money off me being able to pay bills.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Leslie

    All I know is, our rates already went up 40% in 2010, which amounted to a $5,000 pay cut. They are making another big jump for 2011, PLUS higher deductibles and out-of-pocket. "Affordable" health care? For whom???

    December 21, 2010 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Jon

    Now we know what the rate increases imposed by health insurers will be: 9.99%.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anon

      Mine is EXACTLY 9.9%. Imagine that!

      December 21, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  46. SCOTO

    They are already jacking up their rates by ridiculous amounts (mine just went up 50%). What was needed was immediate controls over these thieves not something in 2014. We got the worst possible outcome to this healthcare debacle....leaving it in the hands of the insurance companies, giving them more customers and leaving them free to hike their rates up in the meantime with complete impunity. Not what I voted for

    December 21, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      Coincidentally, some of Obamacare just became law and someone had to pay the price. Welcome to phase one of Obamacare - you and everyone else pays for the new mandates of coverage. This was not up to the insurance companys but up to Congress to ensure the proper safeguards would have been in place. They will not have any more subscribers until it is mandatory (2014) – so requirements are made law and someone has to pay. Guess Congress may not have thought it all the way thru.

      December 21, 2010 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  47. Do your research

    I just have a few things to say 1) not all insurance companies are for profit 2) try to look into all of the healthcare reform provisions to see the changes being made, some will help keep costs down, some are just not helpful at all. 3) healthcare reform only addresses 1/2 the problem leaving doctors and hospitals to charge away as they wish. Point in case – I had a child born premature that spent 4 weeks in NICU with bills totaling $95k. Not to mention my 1 week stay of $19k. Thankfully I have insurance through my employer where I pay $200 per month for premiums and I paid less than $3k. For those of you claiming to never file claims but pay hundreds of dollars in premiums then you need to talk to your broker or your HR rep and get on a plan that works for you such as an HSA. Rather than complain and complain and comment on things you know little about, do something to help yourself.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. bailoutsos

    How do you regulate an industry that has all government officials by the ba//s.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Larry Green

    I hope they look at BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois. Our rate went up over 20% this year, it has been going up about that much every year for the past 6 years. We almost lost our health care this year because the owner of the company says it is getting hard to bare these costs.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Eric

    Healthcare companies are the problem and the health care plan was the right idea albeit a bit off target. There is no profit in treating sick people which is why privitization and capitalism have failed to work. Some things can be privatized, some cannot. No health insurer is going to take on someone with cancer because it isn't profitable to do so. Imagine trying to get auto-insurance where you had 3 accidents that hadn't been settled and yet you are asking for coverage. Now it is to the point that as long as you are healthy they will collect premiums but when you are diagnosed with an illness they do whatever they can to get out of paying. It is a scam.

    December 21, 2010 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.