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Why Has the Cost of My Health Insurance Increased So Much – And Things I Can Do to Improve It

By Mark W. Brooks

You may be wondering why your health insurance cost has gone up so dramatically in recent years. The cost of everything seems to increase from year to year, but why has the cost of health insurance outpaced other goods and services. Let’s look at some of the reasons for the increases:

  • Technology – The medical equipment that technology has provided us allows physicians to do amazing things such as surgical procedures and imaging. We are now able to save premature babies and extend the lives of the elderly with increasingly better results as technology continues to improve, but it is expensive.
  • The uninsured – As the pool of uninsured people grows, the cost rises for the insured. This happens because hospital emergency rooms are required to treat those use their services, however, the cost is simply passed on to those who are responsible and carry health insurance. The number of uninsured continues to increase due to job losses and the number of non-U.S. citizens living illegally here.
  • Malpractice – Physicians have been forced to practice defensive medicine in fear of frivolous lawsuits. The cost of malpractice insurance has forced physicians and hospitals to raise fees and pass the cost on to those that carry insurance.
  • Coverage mandates – The government has passed thousands of mandates in recent years requiring insurance companies to cover services that most people do not need or want. Individual choice in selecting the type of coverage you want has become more difficult as these mandates have increased cost for everyone.

You might be thinking “I understand these reasons for higher cost, but what can I do to lower my own cost?” There are many things that you as an individual can do to lower your cost now:

  • Check with your insurance company, such as Anthem, to make sure you have their latest version of your plan. Insurance companies release new plans frequently especially if premiums on the old plans have gotten too high.
  • Review your plan regularly to make sure you still have the benefits best suited for you and your family. For example, if you no longer have small children, you may no longer need expensive plans that provide unlimited physician visits whereby you pay a co-pay for each visit.
  • Increasing your deductible can save as much as 50% while maintaining features such as doctor office visits, prescription drugs and preventative care that may be covered before the deductible.
  • Comparison shopping with independent insurance agencies can insure that you’ve searched the entire market for competitive plans in your area.
  • Utilize physicians and facilities that participate with the insurance company PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) for discounted pricing in services.
  • Take charge of your own health care. Unnecessary testing and procedures have caused prices of insurance to sky rocket. You are ultimately in charge of your own health care.
  • Practicing preventative medicine and living a healthy lifestyle can have long term effects on your health and ultimately the cost.
  • Get involved in the health care debate. Lawmakers need to hear from constituents regarding the intrusion into our health care and health insurance options as well as the subjects of coverage mandates, illegals and tort reform.

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