The tremendous impact the costs of rising health insurance has on managing diabetes
The cost of health care is a serious consideration for many families, especially those with one or more family members diagnosed with diabetes. I have always looked at health insurance as a necessary evil, because surviving as a type 1 diabetic without it can be quite treacherous even though not impossible. Yet having to fight with insurance companies for coverage on medically necessary treatments and equipment leaves me frustrated and pulling my hair most days.
I still consider myself blessed because I can afford some form of coverage albeit not the best one.
Many employers offer health care plans, but employees still have make contributions each year to pay for part of the premium which for a diabetic can still be a considerable amount.
Closely following the trends in the health insurance costs can help families prepare for changes and continued increases in the cost of coverage.
Ten-Year Change for Premium Costs
The cost of health insurance has increased dramatically over the last ten years, which is a concern for many families. While some of the increase is related to factors like inflation, others attribute it to the increase in unemployment and decrease in spending.
If you are paying for your own health insurance and want to get an affordable package with good coverage, researching sites like InsuranceQuotes.org is a smart idea.
I have been steadily increasing my diabetes supplies rainy day fund, my hope is to have enough diabetes supplies to last me a year in case of job loss or other life adverse challenges makes it impossible for me to keep my health coverage.
According to Emily Jane Fox on CNN.com, annual health insurance premium costs have risen from an average of $8,003 to an average of $15,745 per year paid for by both the employer and employee.
Emily Jane Fox explains that employee contributions have doubled in the last ten years, which is impacting many families who are struggling at work. The change in expense has continued to rise over the last few years despite the efforts to provide some extra relief to struggling families.
Recent Trends in Rising Costs
While the cost of insurance has doubled, recent trends are showing some positive changes. According to OregonLive.com, 2011 saw an increase in insurance premium costs of almost 9 percent. That high figure was surprising to many consumers, who expected much lower hikes due to changing health care plans in politics.
Despite the reasonably large hike in costs, Jeffery Young on the Huffington Post suggests that 2012 is showing better figures. In 2012, health insurance expenses are only up 4 percent, which is a very low rise when compared to historical figures.
The recent trends in health care expenses are slowly starting to reduce the rise, but consumers still have many concerns regarding the increasing expenses. When job growth is stagnant and employees are not seeing any increases in income, it is still hard to make the premium payments.
Since health care costs are still rising, many families are finding it hard to manage the premium payments. Even though employers are covering most of the nearly $16,000 premium, employees still have many costs associated with health coverage.
Reducing Personal Expenses
Even though health care costs continue to rise, it is possible to reduce the personal expense of paying for premiums. Consumers have the option to comparison shop to find better deals and lower premiums by making use of a highly competitive market.
In some cases, it might be less expensive for workers to opt out of employer health coverage and seek a solution without an employer. According to OregonLive.com, low-wage workers on an employer’s health plan spend an average of $4,977 on family health insurance.
That figure is higher than the average despite the lower wage and the family is not receiving the best coverage solutions. By looking for independent coverage, it might be possible to reduce the yearly expense and receive similar or better coverage options.
Exploring medicare as an alternative could be advisable as well, for those who qualify. Medicare does offer options that could very well help offset the other out of pocket medical expenses. Medicare offers a choice between an open-network single payer health care plan and a network plan Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C. These are both qualifying plans that deserve to be explored.
I personally chose to go with a personal plan. My employer benefit plan while cheaper only provided minimal coverage when it came to my diabetes supplies. My current plan premium is about $450 a month with an 80/20% coverage on most supplies and 50/50% on major equipment like the Insulin pump and CGMS.
This plan is middle of the road, not the best while not the worst either but not a day goes by that I do not worry about increased premiums and having to pay more out of pocket for my diabetes supplies.
While reform and regulations strive to make improvements, diabetes patients are still faced with increasing health care costs and keeping an eye on the possibility to reduce health care expenses by comparing different insurance options and looking for alternative plans is an idea worth pursuing.