December 4, 2023

Health Insurance

Follow Your Health Insurance

Health insurance premiums go up, quality of care remains low.

Doctors, hospitals and other health care providers are raising prices due to inflated costs and higher salaries, but that’s only part of the story. New research shows that government efforts to save money on taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid are also pushing up prices for private insurance.

Whether you buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act, your employer or some other means, premiums will likely jump significantly next year. Early indications from Washington and Maryland, the first states where insurers have filed to raise 2024 rates, show premiums rising between 9.1 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

The uniquely for-profit health care system in the United States encourages everyone in the supply chain to charge the maximum price the market will bear. Higher prices mean higher premiums.

Insurance companies negotiate rates with health care providers every few years. The talks revolve around providers, who rely on payments from insured patients, trying to get more money from insurers who must have enough providers to meet their clients’ needs.

Primary care physicians have the least negotiating power and get paid the least, so they only have 15 minutes for you. A large, popular hospital chain can demand better rates lest the local newspaper publishes a story about how people with a particular insurance brand will lose access to the best hospital.