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By Phil Piemonte

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About that average 7.2 percent premium increase …

Well, now that the news on FEHBP health insurance premium increases has settled in—we’ve gotten some emails taking issue with the OPM statement that the average employee share of those premiums will go up 7.2 percent.

Of course averages are strange things. If you have two people in a group and one is 75 years old and the other is 77, the average age of a person in that group is 76. Throw a 37-year-old into that group, and it brings the average age down to 63.

But that doesn’t make the guys who are 75 and 77 feel any younger, any more than a 7.2 percent average premium increase makes a plan beneficiary who’s facing a 30 percent increase feel any better.

And we have heard from some folks whose FEHBP plan premiums are going up far more than 7.2 percent.

Of course, there are other variables, such as how comprehensive the coverage in a plan is (better plans just cost more), and what the percentage increase means in actual dollars (that is, there’s a big difference between 20 percent of $100 and 20 percent of $300).

So, following on an earlier post on this blog—did you get nailed this time, or come in closer to the 7.2 percent average?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Oct 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Sat, Oct 23, 2010 Pat California

While it's true the average health care costs increase is going up 7.2%, the true costs of my health care costs per year is going up at a greater rate. My HMO co-pays for CAT scans and other test have been increased to $200 per test. In past years the co-pays for CAT scans were 0. Now that is a much increase in health care costs than is being reflected in the 7.2 % increase.

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 D USA

Yes - getting nailed: 9.3% increase and with small or no wage increases it's a net cut in take-home pay for most federal workers. Thanks!

Sun, Oct 17, 2010

The reason premiums keep going up is the ridiculous cost of health care. My father received a bill for a hospital stay in San Francisco recently. He was found wandering the streets and presumed indigent. I live in a different state and was not notified until he had been hospitalized for 33 days already and by the time we could make arrangements to get him in a care center ha was in the hospital fore 60 days. His bill was for $304,000. He was in a Psych ward on 81mg aspirin at $5.50 a dose and a multivitamin at $5.50 a pill and room and board of $4600+ a day. The hospital assumed it would be paid under Medi Cal by the state of CA. He was not eligible because his retirement check is above the poverty level. The last 20 days of his stay the room rate had increased to $5300+ per day for room and board. I understand that kind of money for ICU but an elderly dementia patient consuming meals is a little ridiculous. The hospital didn't send a bill, they sent a letter asking us to let them know when his Medi Cal approval letter came to us. I had to request an itemized bill to explain the cost. This is why CA and so many other states are in trouble financially. And why premiums continue to rise at such unbelievable rates.

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 sick and tired Cincinnati

My biggest complaint with gov't health care is not the cost increase but the decline in coverage. In addition, the drug companies have comtrol of health care and - what crooks. For example, I cannot purchase my stomach medicine at the corner drug store. Why? Because it costs me $105 for a months subscription. But, if I send it away to Medco it costs me $15 for a months supply. Same drug, same amount. Now isn't that a joke!! We are putting the corner drug store out of business but making the big drug companies rich. It's time we begin to take a look at policies and procedures of the insurance and drug companies. The are all making lots of money off the backs of the sick and poor.

Fri, Oct 15, 2010

Amazing, and not in a good way.

Complaining about not getting a COLA when millions of our fellow citizens are without jobs. Tens of thousands more probably make less than you do despite working TWO jobs. Families are homeless.

Complaining about being healthy and having to help those who are not. So Darwin, are you saying that sick people should be left to die unless they’re wealthy? How long will you stand by that conviction once your health falters or you’re in an accident and suddenly it’s you who need help from your insurance? After all, why should healthy people then pay for you?

If the insurance companies and their Boards and stockholders weren’t so greedy, rates wouldn’t be so high. People see that and some then blame the government in one breath and complain about government being too big in the next. Others see the insurance companies’ greed and complain about it, yet refuse to recognize the exact same behavior in themselves. Why are those who have so much, never satisfied? When did our country become such a self-centered, selfish, grasping group of people?

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