Physicians aren’t exempt from the struggles with personal health insurance coverage, affordability, denied coverage, etc.
When I finished my medical training and opened my practice 20 years ago, I had to buy individual coverage. All options included a rider that excluded coverage on my uterus and ovaries due to fibroid surgery during my training, so when I had my TAH & BSO a few years later, the entire cost came out of my pocket. Fortunately I knew how to ask for cost reductions, but still.
My husband and I are both small business individuals. I have always carried our health insurance under my name (office). Over the years we have gone to a health savings account with a high deductible to keep the cost reasonable. Fortunately, we have been mostly healthy. Last month we received a letter from Assurant Health.
The letter told us of a policy change that includes a $75 ER visit charge. I thought this might be their way of avoiding a policy increase, but no. Last week I received the notice regarding an increase to our policy. Currently, our premium is $619.76 per month plus a mandatory $100 deposit into the HSA each month.
The notice included this good news:
“Congratulations! You’re a Healthy Discount candidate. To determine your eligibility for the Healthy Discount, answer all 6 questions below. Please consider the last 12 month when answering these questions:
- Been recommended or scheduled for surgery that has not been complete?
- Been recommended to have or is anyone contemplating infertility treatment or been treated for infertility?
- Received or been recommended to have any treatment for alcoholism, alcohol or drug abuse or addiction or mental or nervous conditions?
- Been cited for operating a moving vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Received a diagnosis for any serious medical condition such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, HIV, AIDS, or any other progressive disabling condition?
- Been incapacitated or hospitalized due to an accident or illness?”
The “good news” is that since we can answer “no” to all 6 questions, our new premium will be $761.71 per month rather than $842.87 per month. The mandatory $100 deposit into our HSA remains the same. A simple 23% increase rather than a 36% increase.
Earlier this year, policy increases of up to 39% in California, Indiana, etc. led the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to summon the chiefs of WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna to the Hill to answer questions. Policy increases by other companies seem to be flying under the radar.
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*