MA Health Insurance: Making Up The Shortfall Pain? Don’t miss this great story on Massachusetts rate hikes this morning by WPTV’s Martha Bebinger, on the heels of yesterday’s devastating nationwide numbers from the Kaiser Family Research Foundation:
Blue Cross says it expects moderate to high-end businesses to experience a minimum five-percent increase in premiums, a six percent hike on average for small businesses and a ten percent hike on average for midsize companies. “The majority of small businesses are currently paying a higher premium rate than their competitors,” says a statement released late Friday afternoon. “Small business owners may have a greater level of risk, which could result in greater increases in rates and premiums.” Blue Cross does not have enough information to determine how many of its customers are on some type of group plan. But estimates indicate that group members account for about 40 percent of its annual premiums and that rates increase faster than individual rates.
And these hikes by the state’s largest health insurance companies come on the heels of recent announcements by other insurance companies. Both Aetna and Humana announced last month they would be reducing or eliminating many types of health coverage for employees in certain states. Blue Cross has a long-standing policy of offering more affordable options to their clients and has long had an affordable health insurance program known as Blue Shield.
Massachusetts, a popular tourist destination, is not alone in its struggle with rising medical costs. Even the most health-conscious states are feeling the heat. For example, a recent article in the New York Times outlined a case in Ohio where a woman needed breast surgery.
In addition to these big-name insurers, there are many independent brokers who do a lot of marketing to provide coverage. Some brokers also have plans offered by various private and public employers and can sometimes negotiate the best deals, but the best deals will generally be obtained from the company where the individual buys coverage.
The good news is that there are many sources that can help you find a plan for your family, whether it is individual or family health insurance plans. There are several websites that have information on different plans, as well as a wide variety of comparison sites that allow you to see the prices of different plans side-by-side. If you are looking to insure your entire family, you can also look at various websites that will give you a comprehensive quote.
Also, you can contact the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to get an up-to-date list of rates for the health insurance plans available. They have an online form where you can fill out information on your medical needs and submit it. The state will then send it to a variety of companies and they will inform you of the price ranges for each plan.
And finally, if you are looking at a plan that will cover only specific illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease, there is a special agency that you can go to called the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. This agency offers an application for this coverage and will let you know what rates are being charged for this type of coverage.
However, since it is state-run, the rates are based on the financial status of the state, not the medical condition of the individual in question. So, if you have good grades but you live in a high-income state, you might be able to save some money with Blue Cross Blue Shield’s rates.
Because there are so many different kinds of health insurance plans in Massachusetts, you will need to do some research before you buy one. Even though it is a popular state and a hot tourist destination, you will still need to understand all of the different types of coverage and how the system works.
In short, Massachusetts, like many other states, can be a difficult state to shop for a good health insurance plan. It’s important to talk to your local agent and do your homework before buying a policy.