Every year, my in-laws celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. This year, it was our turn to host 17 people “at the ranch,” as in our ranch home, not the 5,000-acre property you find in Wyoming or Texas.
The actual date of Rosh Hashanah varies depending on the calendar, but it usually is celebrated around the end of September or early October.
The advantage of celebrating the new year in early fall is that you get a three-month advance on the family conversations that are likely to dominate the dinner table over the late December holidays.
Here’s what we can all expect to talk about in the waning hours of 2016 at the ball drops on Times Square: health care premiums.
Some of my in-laws complained about paying $30,000 to $40,000 a year in health care premiums for a family of four. Other in-laws wailed at how insurance companies were corralling people into regional networks of hospitals and doctors.
Could this be true? $Paying 40,000 a year in premiums? For deductibles of $6,000? (Probably, since we pay $8,664 in annual premiums for a family of three with a deductible of about $12,000.)
Family members started blaming the increases on “Obamacare;” others blamed it on a U.S. consumption model that encourages health care utilization.
(Some pointed in hushed tones to my 75-year-old mother-in-law, the last of that generation to celebrate with us, who could probably fund a community college education on her health care outlays of the past three years.)
And, of course, there were the arguments that we need more health insurers to come into the market to spur pricing competition, and we need to increase the fines on young consumers to force them into the risk pool as a way for companies to at least break even.
I guess the good news is that a lot more Americans have health coverage because the way things were going in the past – 50 million people uninsured and simply showing up in emergency rooms – was an unsustainable model.
With one month to go before open enrollment on the public exchanges and many employer-sponsored ground plans opening renewal season this month, I’m curious about how much more in premiums I will be expected to pay.
I’m just sayin’: Here’s advance notice to be prepared for a lot of holiday conversation about the price of health care and some testy exchanges among those you love.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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