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October 05, 2008

California Health Coverage Costs are a Bit Lower

Cost increases for California health insurance premiums are lower this year, and although California’s are higher than some other states, they are also still lower than in previous years.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust confirm what news wires also are reporting: nationally, the rise in cost of health care premiums is about 5 percent. This continues a trend from 2007, when a similar small cost increase was instituted.

However, according to Randy Jones of Hometown Insurance Services in Solvang, in California premiums are somewhat higher: “Ours in California, the rate went up higher than that. We’re getting a 10 percent rise,” he said.

Although the national increases were reported at the end of September, California’s current insurance rates are more difficult to come by. Insurance industry and regulatory agency figures found on the Internet indicate the 10 percent rise is in the ballpark.

“If increases aren’t as bad this year, they were pretty horrendous last year,” Jones continued. One reason California’s premiums are not shooting up, he said: “We’re healthier.”

Another reason that California’s health insurance premiums have stayed relatively low, according to Jones, is the result of a ballot measure from about 15 years ago. That measure was approved by voters, capping punitive damage amounts. “So insurance companies don’t have to approve every little thing for fear of being sued,” Jones said. “But the quality of California health care hasn’t changed.”

The Kaiser study showed that not only insurance premiums have shown a steady increase. “Cost sharing for medical services has also increased in recent years. The percentage of employers sponsoring insurance and the percentage of workers covered by employer-sponsored insurance remained stable over the past year.”

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Posted by healthinsurance at October 5, 2008 03:33 PM