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Health Costs Going Up Fast – Another Reason for Reform

The respected Kaiser Family Foundation released a report yesterday documenting that business health costs are still skyrocketing – the average family policy through an employer now costs $13,375. The chart on the first page of the summary says it all:

This is really, really not sustainable. It’s hard to believe for many people, but health costs for employers and employees have more than doubled in the last decade. Your health plan costs twice what it did ten years ago. We need health reform – and we need it now. We have to have cost controls like a public option health plan. We simply can’t afford to allow the insurance companies and drug companies and other parts of our health system that are making so much money and getting so wealthy to keep doing so at the expense of everyone else.

Businesses understand this:

A major business lobby weighed in Tuesday, saying that if current trends continue, annual health-care costs for employers will rise 166 percent over the next decade — to $28,530 per employee.

“Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option,” said Antonio M. Perez, chief executive of Eastman Kodak and a leader of the Business Roundtable. “These costs are unsustainable and would put millions of workers at risk,” Perez said in a statement.

For all the people yelling about how they don’t want change, perhaps these latest figures will make a difference. Rational debate is hard, but when your job and livelihood is on the line and your salary is actually decreasing because we are making people in the health industry rich, it might be time to listen.

5 Comments

  1. MikeNC

    September 16, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Hospital charges and Insurance companies contracts as discounts off of those charges are the primary reason the system is unsustainable. Just look at a recent article from the US news, http://bit.ly/1FHPCr

    Please, please, don’t ignore this fact or lump this into “other parts of our health system.”

  2. Kimberly

    September 16, 2009 at 11:14 am

    If this figure is for a normal average healthy family of 4 for employer based coverage, as the majority of studies are, then we can use this rate to calculate the average cost for a healthy family of 7 which would make that rate $23,406.25. For a family of 4 with all members having pre-existing conditions then employer based coverage via high risk insurance, which is 2 1/2 times the normal rate, would be $33,437.00. For a family of 7 with all members having pre-existing conditions then employer based coverage via high risk insurance, which is 2 1/2 times the normal rate, would be $58,515.63. All figures do not take into account co-pays, which for chronic conditions are always more expensive and are paid much more often. This would be assuming that at least one member of the family would be able to obtain employment and coverage through an employer while still caring for chronically ill members of the family and themselves. Regardless of how you look at it, it is far too expensive for any size family but especially for a family of 7 with pre-existing conditions. This also does not calculate the cost of privately purchased insurance for the self employed which is always much more expensive than employer based coverage. I wish more people would add up the costs and include the average co-pays. The Catalyst Center just released a great report on Health Reform and Children with Special Health Care Needs at
    http://hdwg.org/files/resources/Essential%20Components%20of%20Health%20Care%20Reform%20for%20Children%20with%20Special%20Health%20Care%20Needs.pdf

    Families with multiple children and adults with special health care needs desperately need affordable health insurance and health reform to include a subsidized public health plan based on income and family size.

  3. IBXer

    September 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Unfortunately, the reforms that are currently being put forward by Congress and the White House do little address the cost issue.

    Reform is needed. Ideologically driven government takeover of the health industry is not.

  4. Kimberly

    September 16, 2009 at 11:57 am

    The free market system and private insurance system has caused the current health care crisis. They have had how many years to self correct and self regulate and have failed horribly. Regardless of what anyone says, current Government Public Health Programs are very good. They have their problems, the caps for Medicaid are far too low, the paperwork and verifications and caps promote poverty and family hardship, and they still don’t cover some critically needed medications for special needs such as specialty vitamins for Cystic Fibrosis patients. But they are still far better than any private insurance available. If the free market system/private health insurance system can’t regulate themselves and treat consumers fairly then it is well past time to have the Government step in and regulate them and reduce costs of those plans and ensure that they treat consumers fairly. Most of the problems with the current health care system can be corrected by regulation, competition with a Public Health Plan, subsidizing larger families with multiple members with special health care needs to make any plan affordable for them, enforcing the ADA, providing college grants for those going into the health care field, and using Health IT.

  5. Adam Searing

    September 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    yeah, banning insurance companies from denying coverage because someone had a pre-exisiting condition is a terrible thing for government to be doing…

    and, giving NC Blue Cross, who writes 96.8% of all individual health policies in NC, some competition from a public health plan is also terrible for government to do…

    what could those health reformers be thinking??????