Best Healthcare in the World, Baby

| Sun Feb. 14, 2010 1:02 PM EST

California may be a bellwether for the rest of nation, but apparently it doesn't take long for the rest of the nation to catch up these days:

Consumers in at least four states who buy their own health insurance are getting hit with premium increases of 15 percent or more — and people in other states could see the same thing.

....The Anthem Blue Cross plan in Maine is asking for increases of about 23 percent this year for some individual policyholders. Last year, they raised rates up to 32 percent. And in Oregon, multiple insurers were granted rate hikes of 15 percent or more this year after increases of around 25 percent last year for customers who purchase individual health insurance, rather than getting it through their employer.

...."You're going to see rate increases of 20, 25, 30 percent" for individual health policies in the near term, Sandy Praeger, chairwoman of the health insurance and managed care committee for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, predicted Friday.

Karen Tumulty: "To give you a sense of what we are talking about if these rates go into effect, a family of four in Maine (which is a relatively poor state) can expect to pay $1,876 a month — about $22,500 a year — for health insurance, starting in July." And that's still a way better deal than you get if you can't get insurance at all, since doctors and hospitals typically charge uninsured patients 2-3x what they charge insurance companies for identical procedures.

But hey — the system is working great. Best healthcare in the world, baby. No need to change a thing.

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