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Continued: Insurance plan changes were inevitable

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 11, 2013 - 10:28 AM

Neither used the term cancellation.

Scott Keefer, Blue Cross’s vice president of policy and legislative affairs, said how a policyholder fared is really pretty simple.

If you had comprehensive coverage with relatively low out-of-pocket costs, your insurance may even cost less in 2014.

If you are the kind of person who opted out of coverage for things you doubted you needed, such as mental health or maternity care coverage, and if you were willing to risk a big deductible, then your costs are now going up.

And in that latter group, “there’s a lot of anger,” Schneeman said. “You may say it’s now a lot better policy, but that’s Washington. My clients say, ‘I deliberately bought a $9,000 deductible because I can handle the risk and I did not want to pay the insurance company any more money.’ ”

No letter or flier

Schneeman saw no point in preparing a simple letter or flier, because the average situation means so little.

His firm primarily advises employers with group plans, yet it handles more than 2,000 individual policies. He ­analyzed his clients with a Blue Cross policy and found the average rate increase is about 18 percent, he said. “And I am pretty comfortable they’ll be providing 18 percent more benefit.”

But when it comes to individual cases, the new rates range from a decrease of 34 percent to an increase of 87 percent.

One of his clients, a 28-year-old musician, had a policy with a $9,000 deductible, the type of policy that’s no longer considered insurance. The replacement policy takes the cost from $84 per month to $140, Schneeman said, an increase of about 67 percent that “to him was a million-percent increase.”

At $84 a month, it had worked. He liked it. And despite assurances from his president, there’s no keeping it.

lee.schafer@startribune.com • 612-673-4302

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