Health care inflation is here again. Our open enrollment season for health care plans at work is upon us, and this week I received an e-mail from our benefits administrator informing me (and the rest of the team) that our premiums this year are up about 4.9%. My per paycheck deduction will now increase from $253.25 to $265.75, or a total of $325 per year. Nope we are not any sicker, and no our plan didn't get any better. It's the same old coverage for the same old plan.
So what's going on? Inflation. But this is the smart bomb equivalent of inflation - it's affecting only very specific sectors of the economy. In fact, if you take a look at government statistics, total inflation at the consumer level from August 2008 to August 2009 was - brace for it - negative 1.5%! So even while the rest of the economy was showing serious signs of deflation, the cost of our health care plan increased by about 5%. Does this make sense to anyone? How can anyone delude themselves into thinking that this is sustainable?
Before you bring up this issue, let me add that my employer is not sending more of its coverage costs to the employees. Our benefits administrator sent us all a detailed chart showing that the company's cost per employee is also increasing by about 5%.
The US health care system. The good news just keeps on piling up.
Enjoyed this post? Please consider subscribing to Money and Such by free RSS Feed or by email. You can also follow me on Twitter.