What I didn't expect was HOW MUCH it was going up!! 31% increase
OK, so it's not the first time the rate has gone up substantially -
In 2003, it was 22.2%. In 2004, 18.2%. In 2007, 19.9%. In 2008, 18.8%.
(see graph below)
But COME ON. Enough is enough. another 31%?
For insurance which doesn't pay for my MS medications, I will be paying $5172?
That's just for me, no one else, and is not subsidized by any employer since I am self-employed. And unlike most folks who have employer-sponsored health insurance, I will be paying Social Security, FICA, etc taxes on that $5172.
Why doesn't Carefirst cover my main MS medication, Copaxone?
- Because the drug benefit for individual policies is capped at $1500 annually.
- I have to qualify for assistance from NORD which administers the PAP.
- I must earn less than 200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and can't have significant amounts of money in savings.
- This year (2009), it is an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $21,660.
Now, to be fair, the $5172 in insurance premiums will not be 24% of my 'total income.'
Since I'm self-employed, I get to deduct the amount spent on health insurance premiums before income taxes are calculated. So it's a minimum of 19.3%, after Social Security/FICA tax is accounted for and before the AGI is calculated.
But, please tell me. Who can afford to spend 19-24% of the highest level of income they can afford (or are allowed) to earn for health insurance premiums?
And let's just say that for 2008 I did earn considerably less than 200%. In fact, $5172 really would be closer to, if not more than, 25% of total income.
According to proposed health care reform legislation, affordable premium rates for someone with my income level would be closer to 5% of income AND I would very likely have coverage for my medical needs, including pharmaceuticals.
Update: Now it looks like the Public Opinion just might get dropped during negotiations in Congress. Sigh.