Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kreidler: Premera's take on cost of health-care reform is misleading

In early November, Premera Blue Cross issued an analysis urging people to contact their Congressional representatives to oppose health reform legislation then in the U.S. House, on the grounds that it would “drive average premiums dramatically higher.”

Passing health reform in its current form, the letter warned, would boost health care premiums “by over $7,000” for families buying new or different coverage.

After a meeting between Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s staff and Premera officials to discuss the basis for the analysis, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler this week sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation.

Premera’s numbers are misleading, Kreidler said. In particular, the analysis gave no consideration to reforms aimed at reducing the cost of premiums. Nor did it take into effect the availability of new premium subsidies that would make health insurance affordable for many of those who can’t currently pay premiums for themselves or their families.

From the letter:

“…the Premera communication appears to be more of a political document than an actual analysis of the effects of any specific proposal before Congress…It ignores any of the expected benefits to passage of health care reform legislation.

“Health care reform is serious business. Individuals, businesses, organizations and industries are welcome and encouraged to speak their opinions. However, those debating the issues should do honest analyses, using complete information about the legislation currently under debate.”

The full text of the letter is here.

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