News has just arrived from West River that prices are going up for health insurance coverage:
Butte County commissioners are facing the possibility of a 49 percent increase in what it pays for employee health care.
The county had planned for a 20 percent increase but was told that if it kept its current plan, the price tag would more than double.
Dakotacare is the health insurance carrier for county employees. Auditor Elaine Jensen said that if commissioners decide to keep Dakotacare, the county faces the choice of a 49 percent increase to keep their current coverage; to keep the increase at 20 percent, the deductible would jump to $2,500 from $1,000.
Ouch. The article does not say how much the current premiums are, but a nearly 50% increase would start costing real money in short order. The article goes on to say that they may be able to get coverage via another means for only about the 20% increase, but that is still substantial.
Average increases across the nation, as guessed by the insurance companies a few months ago are in the neighborhood of 10-12%. Not sure why our example above is so much higher than that outside the the reality that not too many health insurance companies do business in the state, but even a 10% increase is going to hurt. I would be remiss if I did not note that the 10% figure is future-looking and not actual. Given the history of health care costs in this country, it is likely that the increases will be greater than that by a measurable amount.