Thursday, July 14, 2016

Another health insurance headache

I'm starting to really dread finding letters in the mailbox from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, our health insurance company.

Last winter, we got a letter explaining the 50 percent increase in health insurance premiums. After finding a plan with a higher deductible and a somewhat more affordable premium, I thought my health insurance headaches were over.

It turns out they were only just beginning.

Last week's letter from Blue Cross announced that, starting in 2017, the company will be discontinuing all individual and family health insurance plans. The letter included a several-hundred word explanation of the main point: our company is losing too much money on individual plans, so you need to find a new health insurance company.

I read the letter and fumed.

Blue Cross will continue selling health insurance through employer-based plans; they're only dropping the individual plan portion of their business. So, basically, those of us who are self-employed, like farmers and other small business owners, are getting thrown out into the street to find a new home. We're supposed to be the backbone of our nation's economy but it feels like we're being treated as second-class citizens when it comes to health insurance.

Then I cried.

Blue Cross has been our insurance provider since we started farming. We stayed with this company even through the premium increases because I wanted access to the best medical care in the state in the event that something happened to one of us.

Now, I have no idea what kind of access to medical care I'll be able to find.

[Read the rest of this column in the Dairy Star.]

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