It looks as though more insurance premiums are going to be raised, this time from Kaiser Permanente. The states largest health maintenance organization Kaiser wants to raise insurance premiums by 8.8 percent stating that the rise in premiums is needed because of an aging population in Hawaii that the insurer maintains. The increase would affect roughly 162,000 Kaiser members, and go into effect on January 1st.
As stated above, Kaiser stated that the 8.8 percent premium increase is need because of the aging population, and that sector needs much more health care coverage. Kaiser Permanente has already filed the proposed increase with the state Insurance Division, which regulates health plan rates.
This latest increase comes on the heels of two other huge increases that the insurance provider has already made. Kaiser already raised rates an average 12.6 percent at the beginning of this year and an average 10.7 percent in 2010. Kaiser also wants to raise rates an average 9.1 percent for about 14,400 individuals renewing in January.
“Our rate increases over the past three years have been so exorbitant that we don’t have anyone on Kaiser anymore,” said Don Wakeman, owner of Aloha Key, Awards & Gifts, which earlier this year was notified of a 31 percent rate increase. The Kakaako business, which has 25 workers, moved its last employee from the Kaiser plan in May, he said. “If they wanted to get rid of the small groups, they succeeded.”
Kaiser spokeswoman Laura Lott said Monday the company understands that many businesses in Hawaii are struggling, and as medical costs continue to rise, “rate adjustments are necessary to maintain our facilities and continue to provide quality care to our patients.”
Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito said he hasn’t reviewed the filing yet and couldn’t comment.
“In the U.S. there’s three things certain in life: death, taxes and insurance rate increases,” said health care consultant Paul Tom, president of Benefit Plan Solutions. “In some shape or form you’re going to see an increase. Especially in health care — health care (costs) haven’t abated.”
All of these reasoning’s and quotes are all well and good, but the fact of the matter is this; the healthcare premiums for Kaiser are getting out of hand. Actually, health care premiums in Hawaii for all providers are getting out of hand, so much so that it is becoming a huge struggle to even have health care. If you have HMSA it is even worse.
An unnamed friend of mine recently told me that after all the taxes and health insurance premiums are taken out of his paycheck, that he only receives a little over $200 per paycheck. That is insane, especially for a full-time employee.
Kaiser’s projected rate increases do not include a group’s use or demographics — including age, sex and family content — which affect the final renewal rate. This is interesting considering that everyone’s insurance needs are different.
Kaiser ended the second quarter with a $2.8 million profit, matching first-quarter earnings and stemming a year-earlier loss of $5.1 million. Although it seems to me that Hawaii health insurers are continuing to post big profits.
Something needs to be regulated in regards to these crazy insurance premium hikes, otherwise nobody is going to be able to afford health insurance at all.