Unfortunately, premiums for individuals go up every year due to the fact you are a year older and thus more expensive to cover. Additionally, it increases for something called “medical inflation.” This is higher than the general inflation trends because medical inflation covers all the expensive new procedures and prescriptions that come on line each year. Your policy will cover most of these, but there is a cost associated with it.
In 2011 however, we are seeing some additional charges that have had to be added to your policy due to the passage last year of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Major changes are:
- No child under 19 may be denied for health coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
- There are no longer any annual or life-time limits on individual health insurance services.
- Children may remain on their parent’s plan until they are 26.
- There is no longer any “co-payments” associated with required wellness visits; they are covered at 100%.
- There are a whole list of additional tests and immunizations required to be covered at 100%, many of them age related.
The Department of Health and Humana Services will not allow health insurance companies to tell you that these new additions are increasing your premium, but simple logic will tell you this must be the case.
The big kicker here in Colorado is that all new policies now have to cover maternity. Since normal births cost $15,000 to $18,000, this has to have an additional big upward impact on premiums.
Insurance companies have had to figure how much these new requirements will affect their outlay for services. I believe some companies have overestimated how much these costs will be and have increased their premiums too much.
If you’d like to find out if your company’s latest increase is in line with the market, give me a call at 303-541-9533.