By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
This week I received my quarterly health insurance bill. Boy, was I in for a shock! It showed a 49 percent increase in my premium.
Convinced it was in error, I naively called the company’s call center to get it corrected. The rep was nonchalant about the whole thing, acting as though a 49 percent increase was normative. When I protested, he began offering lame excuses:
- The rates always go up
- It’s because of inflation
- There have been too many claims
Each time, I dismissed his explanation, telling him that his stated reason was insufficient to justify a 49 percent increase in my premium.
Not able to dissuade me, he finally relented, sighed, and offered a plausible and convincing reason. “The rate increase is the result of added costs that we are incurring because of the O’Bama healthcare reform,” he said. His tone was somber and sincere. He was no longer mechanically talking at me, but was personally talking with me. I believed him.
He then worked with me, offering options. I ended up increasing my deductible several thousand dollars in order to keep my premium in check.
His first three reasons were, I am sure, the standard script he was supposed to follow. I’m not sure, though, if he deviated from his script in placing the blame on healthcare reform or if that was an official corporate statement.
What I do know is that I agree with him. It is what I feared all along, that healthcare reform would end up costing me more and offering me less.