Health Insurance Increase Shows Insurer Problems, Attracts Scrutiny

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The debate over health insurance has grown increasingly heated lately especially as more and more health insurance providers raise premiums for individual subscribers. This has drawn growing concern in Washington, with President Obama seizing the opportunity to continue his push for health care reform.

So far rate hikes have affected six states and a range of companies including Anthem Blue Cross of California, Tufts, UnitedHealth, and Blue Cross in Rhode Island, Michigan, Maine, Washington, Connecticut and Oregon have followed suit. In California alone, rates rose up to 39 percent for individuals.

Indianapolis based WellPoint Inc, is the culprit behind Anthem Blue’s rate increases. The company has been repeatedly rebuked by the Obama Administration, and plans are underway to review the company’s motives. WellPoint’s chief executive, Angela Braly is expected to undergo thorough questioning before Congress next week.

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Though health insurance providers have drawn the wrath of many, the state of the economy does not help in the matter either. Many Americans are opting out of health insurance coverage simply by dint of the fact that they remain healthy and would rather pay for groceries.

This puts an incredible amount of pressure on health insurance providers who are stuck with a pool of poor health customers. Rising medical costs coupled with fewer customers means insurance providers must turn to rate increases to make up lost revenue. In other words, insurers have little choice but to make customers pay more particularly with a dwindling customer base.

Conversely, government officials find claims that companies like WellPoint or Blue Cross Blue Shield are in financial straits to be ridiculous. Group rates and plans provided by employers are generally keeping the same price points. Moreover, the companies still benefit from massive profits.

Currently, a solution is far from coming into any real kind of fruition. The health insurance hikes, have, however, highlighted the need for change. The situation as it stands now cannot maintain. At this rate, few will be able to afford health insurance or even medical care.

Written by Lani Shadduck

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