Health Insurance Hikes Could Send More To Bankruptcy

Health insurance premiums for individual policies nationwide have increased 20 percent on average, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.  And the Texas Department of Insurance reported that individual health insurance premiums in Texas alone have increased as much as a 7.5 percent, putting more people at risk for medical debt and eventually bankruptcy.

Mike Nash expected his monthly health insurance premium to increase a little next year.

But when the 52-year-old Lockheed retiree got a letter saying it was going up 43 percent — from $171 to $244 a month — he couldn’t believe what he was reading.

“This is absolutely outrageous,” said Nash, who lives in Fort Worth.

Earlier in the year, Nash raised his deductible to $3,500 hoping to stave off a jump in the premium for his policy from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. With no chronic medical problems, he couldn’t understand why his rate would go up so much.

“I’m a healthy, nonsmoking person who has never used this policy one time,” he said.

Nash is struggling to keep his health insurance policy; but the increase in health insurance premiums could push more individual insurance policyholders to drop their coverage increasing their risk for accumulating medical debt .  As Americans face wage cuts, unemployment and a hike in the costs of other essential goods and services, many may choose to forgo health insurance if it is not offered through their job or some other type of group plan.  If more Americans choose to forgo health insurance coverage we could see an increase in the amount of medical debt in Dallas-Fort Worth and around the country.  And with an increase of medical debt, more debtors may choose to file bankruptcy because they are unable to pay their medical debts.

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