Insurance costs have increased 131% since 1999, but my premiums have gone up 300%

How much have your insurance premiums gone up since 1999? More than 131%?

I seem to recall that the insurance industry keeps sending me letters every year, when they inform me that they’ve increased my premiums by 25%, that it’s because of the increasing cost of medicine. Now we find out that this is a lie. Can the government go after them for fraud? I mean, with Max Baucus and his former staffers’ permission, of course – they are, after all, in the pocket of Big Pharma.

The average cost of job-based family health insurance climbed 5 percent to $13,375 in 2009, making this the 10th straight year that health care premiums have increased faster than workers’ wages and overall inflation have. Insurance costs have increased 131 percent since 1999, when a year of family coverage cost about $5,791, according to the 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust .

That supercharged growth rate far outpaces the 38 percent increase in wages and 28 percent growth of inflation over the same period.

My premiums have gone up around 300% since 1999, and my benefits didn’t go up a dime. I still only get $1500 a year in prescription benefits (even though I have the most expensive self-employed plan that CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield offers). And now I find out that the increases appear to have all been outright robbery. What is health care reform going to do specifically to stop these kind of practices from happening? Not to mention, unless the President’s plan addresses the now-phony current “cost” of our health care premiums, we’ll be locking in these outrageous rates forever.

It would have been so easy to put the insurance industry on the defensive in this debate. Yet, oddly, they’re the ones working out backroom deals with Max Baucus and the President himself, both Democrats.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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