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High-Risk Patients Will Pay Higher Rates

From an unfazed Associated Press:

High-risk patients may be stuck paying high rates

By CARLA K. JOHNSON (AP)

May 14, 2010

CHICAGO — For thousands of Illinois residents who pay high health insurance premiums because of medical problems, the new federal health care legislation won’t offer relief.

The 16,000 residents who already pay into Illinois’ high-risk health insurance pool will keep paying high rates, while others who enroll this summer under a new, similar program will get coverage at much lower, more reasonable prices.

And by “reasonable prices” the AP means below their actual cost.

Illinois is among the states that have told the federal government they want to take part in the new high-risk pool program, an early component of the U.S. health care overhaul law. Illinois hopes to start enrolling people in the new program in July.

The federal government has $5 billion for the state pools, which will help people with pre-existing conditions get coverage until 2014, when insurance companies will no longer be able to deny them coverage. The law requires that the new, temporary pools charge no more than standard rates.

But only people who have been uninsured for six months are eligible — meaning those in the current state pool can’t switch and save.

Julie Kramer, 53, is feeling a bit cheated. She’s paid high premiums — about $700 a month — for nearly seven years into Illinois’ high-risk pool.

"It feels very unfair. It goes against the spirit of what health care reform was supposed to be," said Kramer, a self-employed writer and owner of Full Moon Marketing Communications in Vernon Hills. "This does seem like a low blow."

What exactly is this “spirit” Ms Kramer mentions? ‘Social justice’? Or destroy the insurance companies?

The existing program is called the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, ICHIP. Thirty-four other states have similar programs.

By state law, people in ICHIP pay 25 to 50 percent more than standard rates. The average annual premium has increased about 20 percent over the past five years. A 62-year-old woman now pays about $1,000 a month for a plan with a $500 deductible.

Premiums depend on the size of the deductible, where the enrollee lives, gender and age.

That sure sounds like ‘profiling.’

The average annual claim cost per enrollee was $10,433 last year. Premiums pay for about 60 percent of the $174 million program. An assessment on insurers contributes about 23 percent and the rest comes from state and federal money

So, even under this plan, the taxpayer is already subsidizing almost half the cost of their health care. And they are still complaining.

Illinois expects to receive nearly $200 million from the federal government to start the new high-risk pool. The insurance department estimates that would be enough to cover about 5,000 people in the new plan, McRaith said.

That’s far fewer than the number of people who may qualify. A 2008 U.S. Government Accountability Office report said about 218,000 people might be eligible for a high-risk pool in Illinois.

And that’s just one state. As the article notes, there are 34 other states with similar programs.

Once again, we see how the costs of Obama-care were low-balled at every turn.

But how long will ‘social justice’ require so many people to have to pay more for their vastly more expensive treatments? (Hint: not very long at all, one the news media trots out a few more of these sob stories.)

By the way, notice how we are never told what “medical problems’ make for a ‘high risk patient.’ For instance, are HIV positive patients considered high risk? Probably not, given the low numbers mentioned, and their protected status.

So exactly what are these problems, and why doesn’t the AP bother to tell us?

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, May 16th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “High-Risk Patients Will Pay Higher Rates”

  1. JohnMG says:

    We’ll all be enrolled in a high-risk plan before too long. It’s called Obamacare!

  2. proreason says:

    High Risk?

    Sounds like health policies for politicians will “skyrocket”.

    • BigOil says:

      Imagine what The Swimmer would have paid if he were in a high risk pool. The Kennedy fortune may not have been enough to cover the premium.

  3. Mithrandir says:

    I wonder if HOMOSEXUALS will be classified, and pay more, as part of a high-risk group.

    Every medical report I have ever read lists gays as ‘high-risk.’

    Of course, I am kidding, they either won’t be, or EVERYONE will be a high risk group to pay for those hefty union salaries and benefits the new beaurocracy will demand every year.


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