Every year in late October we get our annual notice from our health insurance provider telling us how much our monthly premium is going to go up. Last year it went up by 20%. This year’s notice came with news of an almost 12% bump.
Maybe I have this wrong but while there may be uncertainty on what will happen with Obamacare not much has actually happened yet (in relation to what was promised, or threatened depending on your perspective) but the newness of the Obamacare concept is no longer with us and so I don’t think they can legitimately blame a policy that is no longer new for the gouging.
It seems pretty obvious that this expense is going to continue to increase at a rate well above the reported rate of inflation.
One aspect in my role on the Fire Department is that I participate in just about all of the medical calls. One normal part of the process is to ask what medications the patient is taking which can be important in treating the patient in the field and for whatever treatment the patient might receive at the hospital.
The reason to bring this up is that based on my casual observation people have a lot of prescriptions that must be refilled on some regular interval. The costs of these prescriptions of course goes up as well and depending on the insurance coverage this could result in more expense for the patient.
As this relates in large part to retired people living on a fixed income it underscores what most people know on some level even if they haven’t tried to map it out which is healthcare expenses will be a nasty variable expense.
A couple with $2000 in social security income and taking 4% from a $200,000-$300,000 portfolio probably can’t easily absorb a 50% increase in medical costs every five years (simple math) or in our case a 30% increase in two years. Sadly portfolios of even $200,000-$300,000 is probably unrealistically high.
There is no answer that will make people happy. I don’t think it is realistic to expect the government to create an effective regulatory framework that creates a competitive industry, doesn’t create resentment by customers or otherwise have hideous unintended consequences.
While I don’t think there is a happy answer there is a simple answer. Save more and spend less.
On a different note the Madoff interviews on 60 Minutes were fascinating although I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly why. Whether they were guilty or otherwise complicit they have clearly been crushed as a result. Ruth seemed very medicated and I can believe she blocked out as much as she apparently did even if it was along the lines of “it’s not a lie if you believe it.”
I have to admit I don’t watch 60 Minutes very often but it seemed like every commercial was either for pharmaceuticals or financial services which was interesting too.