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New HHS Report Reveals Shocking Trend of Rising Premiums, Need for Health Insurance Reform Clear

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report today detailing a shocking rise in insurance premiums scheduled to occur in several states and underscoring the need for health insurance reform.

  • Last year, as American workers and their families struggled to make ends meet, the five largest health insurance companies raked in combined profits of $12.2 billion - more than 56 percent more than in 2008.   Profits for the ten largest insurance companies increased 250 percent between 2000 and 2009, ten times faster than inflation.
  • Recent data show that the CEOs of America's five largest insurers were each compensated up to $24 million in 2008.
  • And now some of these same companies are planning to increase policy premiums as much as 39 percent.  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners predicts the nation will 'see rate increases of 20, 25, 30 percent.” 

A letter from The Main Street Alliance - a national network of small businesses - makes the point that premium increases like these are hurting small businesses across the country:

“These rate hikes aren't news to small businesses across the country who are already struggling to keep their doors open during the economic recession. Many employers whose health care costs were already surpassing 10 or even 15 percent of payroll costs are now receiving notices of premiums 20 to 40 percent higher than last year - one reported rate hike exceeded 120 percent.”

Health insurance reform would help rein in unconscionable premium increases, drive down health care costs and limit out-of-pocket expenses. Without reform, families and small businesses will continue to feel the crush of rising health care costs that threaten to derail our nation's economic growth and price millions more Americans out of life-saving health care coverage.

As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in today's column, “… the question isn't: Can we afford to reform health care? Rather: Can we afford not to?”