Wednesday, 20 December 2006
What Derb could get for his $857/month health insurance premium

Aston Martin DB9

For the prognosis on his monthly health insurance premiums, John should go to David Gratzer, physician and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Author of The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care (Encounter Books, October 2006), Dr. Gratzer recently analyzed the situation for the NY Sun:

More and more Americans find themselves in the individual insurance market — that is, having to purchase health insurance for themselves, rather than receiving it from an employer. The problem is that many states so heavily regulate this market that often it is impossible to find an affordable policy.

The hyper-regulation trend is recent. In 1965, relatively few states placed mandates on health insurance — only 7 benefits were on the books across the nation.Four decades later, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, there are 1,843 mandates, requiring even a “basic” insurance policy to include certain providers and services.

The list of mandated providers is long: acupuncturists (in 11 states), chiropodists (3), denturists (2), massage therapists (4), and osteopaths (24). Some states also mandate that specific services be covered: birthing centers with midwives (6), dental anesthesia (27), hair prosthesis (7), and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (19).

Some states have gone further. “Guaranteed-issue” laws force insurers to sell to any applicant; “community rating” requires insurers to offer the same price, regardless of age and health. Combine the two, as New York and New Jersey have, and the young and the healthy — facing higher premiums for insurance they seldom use — drop their coverage, leaving an insurance pool of older, sicker people, and even higher premiums.

A leading online insurance brokerage, eHealthInsurance, recently calculated the cost of a standard individual insurance policy ($1,000 deductible with a 20% co-insurance) across the nation’s 50 largest cities, comparing some 4,000 insurance plans and 140 insurance companies. Insurance in the top 10 cities is quite affordable — all under $60 a month. In contrast, New York City ranked dead last, with premiums averaging $334 a month. The survey didn’t list any cities in New Jersey, but the situation is worse in the Garden State: A typical family policy now costs more, per month, than the lease of a Ferrari.

Barring any action by New York State legislators, the only option, as Ronald Reagan said of a similar problem, is to vote with your feet.
Posted on 12/20/2006 5:57 AM by Robert Bove
20 Dec 2006
Mary Jackson
The differences are massive.