Noel Ma – Fontana, CA

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My health insurance policy with Anthem Blue Cross has gotten so unaffordable that I seriously think about dropping it because it’s now draining my savings. I have nothing left for unexpected expenses, much less for pleasure.

Between July 2010 and May 2012, the premium for my Anthem Blue Cross HMO Select plan went from $391 a month to $678 a month, a 73% increase in less than two years. When Blue Cross sent a notification in April of the latest increase to $678, it advised me that I could switch to a cheaper plan, a Smart Sense or Premium Plus PPO. But because it was a switch from an HMO to a PPO, I had to reapply. Despite what the letter said they turned me down because of a medical condition that I recently developed–even though I’m healthy and working full-time in real estate.

I’m also struggling with medical bills from an accident last year. It’s a situation I’ve never been in. It’s us in the middle class being ruined by these increases.

I really feel desperate sometimes, with everything hitting me at once. When it was $391 for my premium I had to budget carefully. Now it’s nearly impossible. Nothing else in this economy, certainly including wages, is going up at the rate of my health premiums.

When my water company wants to raise rates, they have to notify us and hold a hearing and the Public Utilities Commission has to approve the rate. Why do health insurance companies get to charge us whatever they want, with no one able to tell them “no”?

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