Friday, July 17, 2009

Massachusetts Health Insurance Plan: A Failure

In response to rising health care cost and a growing number of uninsured residents, Massachusetts, in 2006, came up with the less than brilliant solution - mandatory health insurance.

Sure it has decreased the number of uninsured people, because by state law they are now required to pay the bloodsucking insurance companies a monthly premium or face tax penalties. Any doubts that the corporations are running the show? They actually got the government to force 'free' citizens to buy their product. Not to mention it's a product that often fails you when you need it most.

Of course there was more to it than forcing it upon everyone, all sorts of programs were set up to 'assist' those who could not or barley afford it, and supposedly something was going to help control the rising costs.

As a self employed individual, I have the burden of obtaining my own health insurance, no discounted employer program is available to me. So last year I signed up for a plan and in order to come close to a monthly premium I could afford I ended up with something fairly limited with high co pays and deductibles.

A few weeks back, as my one year anniversary with this insurer approached, I was notified that the monthly premium for the policy I have (which meets the minimum requirements dictated by the state) is increasing by 19%. So this 'wonderful' health insurance solution, has failed miserable at controlling costs. A 19 % increase in ONE YEAR! At this rate my original premium will be doubled in 3 years. Meanwhile the insurance companies and health care industry are raking in millions, perhaps billions more by squeezing those who can barely afford it. I guess that explains why the hospitals around here have new sleek buildings with extravagant lobbies like ritzy Vegas resorts.

So with this increase looming I investigated these 'assistance' programs that say they will find you a policy you can afford or help you meet the premium to obtain minimum coverage. But, while my net taxable income falls within the range of eligibility for one of those 'assistance' programs, it was determined I was ineligible.

Perhaps instead I'll just pay the tax penalty, which seems to be about 1/3 of what I would pay for minimum health insurance, and put the difference in a savings account. Hopefully the fools in Washington can come up with something better than this half-assed Mass plan, but with the health industry being the biggest lobby in the country I'm not counting on it.

1 comment:

Robguy said...

The US really needs to make it illegal to accept any corporate donations - and limit corporate lobbying.