My family buys our own health insurance. Jay and I are self-employed, so our options are either to get a group policy through our corporation, or to purchase a policy on the individual market. Either way, we’re paying for it ourselves. Because individual policies are medically underwritten in Colorado, and because our family is healthy, the individual option is quite a bit less expensive than a group policy would be.
If the health care reform bill makes it through the senate and ends up becoming law, that will probably change. We’ll still have a few more years of the status quo, but in 2013 we’ll likely see significantly higher premiums for those of us who are healthy and buy our own health insurance. The difference in premium between a group plan and an individual plan for our family will likely be much less than it is today, due to both the increased benefits and the end of medical underwriting that is expected in the individual market. Hopefully we’ll end up with a strong mandate that significantly expands the group of people paying into the health insurance pool, as that will help to offset premium increases in the individual market.
This article, written by The New Republic’s senior editor, Jonathan Cohn, is a good read for anyone wondering how health care reform is likely to impact their own budget. He points out that
“...it’s virtually impossible to design a reform scheme that doesn’t, in the early stages, involve at least some transfer of money away from the healthy and wealthy. The point of insurance is to pool risk, bringing in contributions from relatively healthy people, so that medical bills don’t fall too heavily on the sick.“
It’s hard to argue with that point, regardless of whether one personally stands to win or lose under health care reform. And even though my family is part of the relatively small minority of people who purchase their own health insurance, I believe that we’re all in this together, and that providing access to affordable health care for all of us will make America better in the long run.