Today, after reading David Lazarus’ most recent column, we’re wondering how much your health insurance has gone up lately. In The Los Angeles Times, Lazarus profiles Dale Berman, a freelance photographer who has had Crohn’s disease his entire life:
Berman said he was able to enroll in 2003 in a plan offered by a photographers trade association. The plan initially cost $3,500 a year and came with a $2,500 deductible.
By 2008, however, the plan’s annual rate had more than tripled to about $12,300, and Berman was informed that it would jump again in 2009 to roughly $18,000.
“That would have been nearly half my income at the time,” he said. “I couldn’t afford to pay it.”
So Berman turned instead to California’s Major Risk Medical Insurance Program, the state’s insurer of last resort for people with chronic conditions. His annual premium ran more than $13,000 and coverage was capped at $75,000 a year.
Berman was hospitalized at UCLA in 2010 for an intestinal blockage. While he was there, a hospital staffer stopped by his bedside and informed him that his treatment would surpass his $75,000 insurance cap.
“They wanted to know how I was going to pay for everything,” Berman recalled. “I was dehydrated. I was weak. I’d lost a lot of weight. But all I could do was check myself out of the hospital to save money.”
It was a frightening moment. As Berman made his way home that day, the only thought in his mind was, “This is how the system is supposed to work?”
So he switched again, this time to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP, which costs only about $4,500 a year and has no limit on how much treatment will be covered annually. To be eligible for the program, Berman had to forgo health insurance for six months, but he decided the risk was worth it.
Health insurance through the photographer’s trade association is currently running between $25,000 and $36,000 a year.
We were blown away by how much Dale Berman’s health insurance could cost him if Obamacare is struck down and the PCIPs are dismantled. Is your health insurance the same?
Tell us about it in our discussion forum!
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