Ivy6....I missed the last post and thought I would give you my quick 2cents from my being in the insurance industry.
Offering insurance to your employees was once considered a benefit that would entice you to work for one company over another. Over the years, the benefit turned to a sense of entitilement in which everyone expected to have their coverage provided by the employer.
When medical cost trend increases were flat to minimal, employers managed to continue to offer coverage to their employees as a way to retain their employees.
Then costs started to rise and the PPO and HMOs were created so employers were not hit with the growing costs of medical care. These were meant to steer the insured to providers that contracted at a fixed level of cost. Employees were given a better benefit to go to a contracted provider over a non-contracted provider. Originally, the network providers were few and far between and were selected on a limited basis. Then employees became unhappy with limited choices (I want my doctor in the network) and the employers listened to that...forcing the networks to contract with more and more providers. Nowadays, most PPO networks have a high percent of the doctors so the steerage to the contracted dosctors no longer saves on cost increases becuase they are still giving a higher benefit to utilize those doctors.
Over all of this time, the US population never had to see the effect of inflation of medical costs. Now that PPOs are no longer effective and providers have found ways around contracts to help with their budgets, there is no place left to minimize the costs (for example in the last 5 years the frequency of a million dollar claim has changed from 1 in every 100,000 covered to 25-30/100,000 covered). Reducing the level of benefits has not been successful as we, in my admitted sense of entitlement, do not want to share in costs. Therefore, the only other way to make up for cost increases is to increase premium rates. Since this was avoided for so long, the increases seem even larger to most folks.
I simplify it this way to many of my friends.....what if a gallon of milk cost $1.00. Then the cost rose to $1.50 unless you shopped at ABC Grocery chain. ABC would still cost $1.00. But you only have XYZ Grocery near you so you fight to have them charge only $1.00. Now every grocery is back to charging a dollar, but the cost of making milk is now $2.00. Now we all pay $2.50 a gallon and are stunned at the increase from $1.00 to $2.50 because we never saw the incremental increase. Now we are mad at the groceries and the farmers and the cows. Nope....we tend to only look at it this way for healthcare for some reason...groceries and gasoline and necessities increase with less fuss.
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa [until I surrender to the bigger meds]
I'm riding on the escalator of life....