The left side can give you heartburn!

Renewals!! Group or individual health insurance are coming in everyday at PAB Insurance Solutions. We automatically go straight to the right side of the menu where the price is. What we’ve learned is that prices are going up no matter what the politicians are telling you. We see a few 0.1% increases but more often than not the increases are double digit!! 22% and 16% are what I saw yesterday for the two groups that passed my desk.

The problem with the increases isn’t the number, although it’s staggering, but the changes that are being offered in the products!! The heartburn creation is the increase in consumer expenses in these plans that are being moved out to the insured! (That’s the left side of the menu) Two key areas are the copays, or the limiting of the Formulary for the prescription benefits.

I saw a plan that increased the Urgent Care benefit copay from $40 to $250 per visit! The plans that are supposed to encourage you to utilize the providers other than the costly hospital ER are now raising the consumers cost at the lowest benefit levels. Max out of pocket totals for a calendar year are sneaking up as well. What was $6250 for a Gold Silver or Bronze plan can now be as high as $6800.

When you get the renewal, call a broker. The one you are working with or another trusted shop that can show you the increases in the consumer expenses. You might save a few dollars understanding the true cost of these plans. Gold Silver and Bronze are all essentially the same level of benefit but the pricing is just determining who will pay first, you or the insurance company.

Remember that if you only read the right side of the menu, you could be getting a big case of heartburn from the left side.