Even if you still have health insurance in California as a job benefit, your coverage is probably shrinking right before your eyes. According to the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, California employers were hit by a 39 percent increase in the cost of providing family health coverage in just six years (from 2003 to 2009).
It cost employers, on average, $12,631 to provide California health insurance as a company benefit last year. Yet, employers in 27 other states were faced with even larger rate hikes. Before you feel sorry for the employers, consider who's really paying for the escalating price of U.S. health care.
Companies typically chip in for approximately 75 percent of their employees' premiums, but the higher premiums rise, the more employees have to handle on their own. As expected, workers are paying for more and more of their health care, even with group plans.
With huge increases in the deductibles for California insurance plans, employees have to choose whether to fund their own health care or go without preventive care or, worse still, delay care they really need. How many times have we missed the early warning signs of a treatable disease with our increasing reliance on high-deductible health insurance? It's ultimately the employee and his family that pay most dearly for the lack of health care.
How To Fight Skyrocketing California Health Insurance Premiums
Employees at smaller companies tend to be hurt more. On average, individual deductibles jumped by 83 percent between 2003 and 2009. That left workers with deductibles averaging over a thousand dollars a year ($1,283).
Family-plan deductibles only rose by 68 percent during the same period, but that still left families with deductibles of $2,652. The cost of a single broken arm typically costs almost that much.
When you're stuck with a high-deductible California health insurance plan, it might make sense to add a little protection of your own. Accident health insurance plans won't help a bit if you get sick, but they can replace a high deductible of $2,000 with a mere $100 deductible if you're accidentally injured.
Even if your boss won't chip in, individual accident coverage is as low as $22 a month for $5,000 in medical coverage. Family accident plans start at $35 a month for the same amount of coverage.
These accident plans are usually clear about coverage, unlike typical California health insurance policies. Check out what the plan excludes, such as coverage for adults playing professional sports, and what the refund policy is before you buy.
Health Insurance In California Needs Reform
The nation's new health care laws are projected to slow the rising costs of health insurance for California if only by adding oversight. State and federal officials to have been empowered to evaluate and possibly reject rate hikes from insurance companies.
Other measures have also been added that could curb unnecessary, but expensive, waste in health care, such as incentives to boost coordination between primary care physicians and specialists. Not only can that improve patient care, but it can also cut duplicative lab tests, x-rays, etc.
New health care laws are still on the ropes while courts try the legality of requiring most of us to maintain minimal health insurance coverage. Court cases trying the constitutionality of withholding treatment from patients in hospitals until patients die from neglect don't seem to be as popular. Yet, statistically in a myriad of situations ranging from cancer to gunshot wounds, people who are admitted to hospitals without health insurance die more frequently in hospitals across the nation much more often than people in the adjacent rooms who are protected by health insurance.
Maybe adding a little extra protection, even if it is coming our of your own pocket, is a worthwhile investment until the cost of wasting human life is considered higher than the cost of providing medical services.