Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Insurance Scam

I hate insurance companies. But this one is personal. It's not because of the negligible reimbursements they try to deny doctors while paying their company officers millions of dollars a year. No, this time it's about how they treat me as a health insurance member.

As some of you readers may know, I recently moved into a new house. It is a very nice house. It is a very lovely house. It also moves my family into a new zip code. A "better" zip code with better schools, better streets, better crime statistics, and just all around better. As part of the process of moving, I notified my insurance carrier about my change of address. "No problem," said the customer service rep who helped me over the phone. "Oh, by the way," he said at the end of the conversation, "your insurance rates will go up with the move." "Why?" I asked dumbfounded. "It's because of your new zip code." Huh? "What does my zip code have anything to do with my health insurance premiums? I have never used my insurance for anything. I've never been hospitalized a single day in my life. I don't take any prescription medications or have any chronic illnesses. Why are the premiums being raised?" "I don't know," was his reply. "I'm just letting you know about the increase. Will that be alright?"

Naturally he wouldn't know the reason for the rate increase. He's just a customer service rep, not the actuary who crunches the numbers to come up with the real reason for the rate hike. My personal suspicion is that my new neighborhood has an older population than the previous one. Therefore people probably use their insurance more often here than in the old neighborhood. But I'm still miffed. California has a law prohibiting insurance companies from using zip codes to determine car insurance rates but somehow the lawmakers didn't make the same rules for health insurance. Then I got a letter from the insurance carrier last week that my health insurance rates are going to go up 17% in a couple of months on top of my already increased rates. They cite the usual blah blah about rising medical costs, higher utilization rates, sicker patients...

What happens when ObamaCare kicks in and everybody is forced to purchase insurance from these rascals? What will happen to the country when insurance companies continue to raise rates every year on a product people are legally obligated to purchase? Either you pay the insurance companies a ransom to stay within the law or you're fined by the government and have to pay a penalty because you can't afford their rising premiums. Will there be a debtor's prison for people who can't afford rising health insurance premiums and can't or won't pay the government penalty? Where will this madness end?

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