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Health insurance rates are going up despite the word affordable in the law

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Front page of the Los Angeles Times today--health insurance rates are going up, you aren't necessarily going to be able to keep your plan despite the millions of times you've been told this, people are finally beginning to get it. And don't seem to be very pleased about it.

Insurance professionals like me have been trying to forewarn our clients about what's coming--you can keep your current health plan IF you bought it before March 23, 2010. Otherwise, you are moving to a new plan. The insurance carriers are mapping you to a comparable plan, based on benefits. The cost might be a lot more, but you will be able to move to something else, it's not carved in stone. But like the main woman in the Times story, she had a plan she was happy with that was $98 a month. She's now been moved to a plan that's $238 a month. She's no longer happy. And at a combined household income with her husband of around $80,000 a year, she's not eligible for premium assistance. So now what? Call me, I'll shop it for you.

But seriously, better benefit means more expensive. But what if you were happy with what you had? Too bad. I find it a bit arrogant of the head of Covered California to declare most existing plans are cheaper but bad plans. Sorry, I have a tough time seeing where a Bronze plan with a $5000 deductible, 60% coverage is 'better' than an Anthem SmartSense plan with a $3500 deductible and 70% coverage. (Oh yeah, that's right, they now have pediatric dental and vision. I have no kids.) Plans like that should have remained available, my clients were happy enough with them. Especially as they see the new rates.

Yes, the benefits potentially are richer, but not everybody wanted them. Or needed them. But like it or not, here they come! So much for 'affordable...'

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