The number of people with health insurance decreased from 255.1 million in 2008 to 253.6 million in 2009. Since 1987, the first year that comparable health insurance data were collected, this is the first year that the number of people with health insurance has decreased.
Between 2008 and 2009, the number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 201.0 million to 194.5 million, while the number covered by government health insurance climbed from 87.4 million to 93.2 million. The number covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 176.3 million to 169.7 million. The number with Medicaid coverage increased from 42.6 million to 47.8 million.
Jobless Americans are losing their private health insurance, which means Medicaid enrollment is increasing dramatically.
In the wake of health care reform, insurance companies are raising their rates—apparently, in preparation for the tepid new rules that won't go into effect for years, and thus give the industry plenty of time to jack up their prices and protect their profits. The Wall Street Journal reports that premiums for individuals and small businesses will go up in 2011, in some cases by as much as 20 percent.
Unfortunately, there was nothing in the health insurance reform bill to prevent insurance companies from continuing to jack up their rates. Soon they will be blaming rate increases on the decreasing numbers of people buying insurance.
From the LA Times:
A number of big insurance companies will no longer sell child-only insurance policies. Families that might have only been able to afford to insure their children are going to be out of luck.
Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions.
Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will halt new child-only policies in California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere as early as Thursday when provisions of the nation's new healthcare law take effect, including a requirement that insurers cover children under age 19 regardless of their health histories.
The action will apply only to new coverage sought for children and not to existing child-only plans, family policies or insurance provided to youngsters through their parents' employers. An estimated 80,000 California children currently without insurance — and as many as 500,000 nationwide — would be affected, according to experts.
It's amazing that a business so deeply involved in a crucial aspect of our lives could be so utterly lacking in any sort of moral compass.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org