Check out this statistic from the Chicago Tribune today: “Illinois consumers to pay up to 60% more [for health insurance premiums], data show.” When do they pay more? AFTER they have lost their employer-sponsored health care coverage. In other words, just when they can afford to, right?
Oh and this 60% figure is the base rate for insurance premiums (up from 8.5% last year). It doesn’t factor in additional increases in the cost of premiums for age, gender or most importantly, health status.
Whether you believe that access to basic health care services is a right (as I do) or whether you believe there is a right to be healthy (I’m less sanguine on that point), it just seems criminal that while so many industries in health care continue to make money hand over fist, some of the most vulnerable among us (children, the recently unemployed) are finding it increasingly difficult to insure themselves.
I don’t think there is just a single culprit here. It would be all to easy to just point a figure at the “evil health insurance industry” or “Washington politicians” who have to date have been unable to pass reform. But it isn’t that simple.
Unfortunately, the facts are. Those in the individual insurance market, not just in Illinois, but all over the country, are finding themselves priced right out of a market that was supposed to be designed for them. Something can and must be done, whether it will be–in terms of reforming our health care system–remains to be seen.
Summer Johnson, PhD