COVID-19 will likely cause a hike in your insurance premiums

Deanna Dewberry
Updated: September 25, 2020 05:55 PM
Created: September 25, 2020 04:21 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In consumer news, I’m taking a look at your hospital, your wallet and you. COVID-19 has not only sickened our bodies, our economy and our personal bank accounts, it has also financially sickened our hospitals. And that will likely eventually affect you and me as well as our wallet. I’ve been digging through the numbers, and it’s scary.

According to the American Hospital Association, from March through June hospitals lost $202.6 billion because elective surgeries were canceled, and we all stopped going to the hospital in our effort to avoid the virus. And history has taught us that as hospital expenses increase, premiums increase more.

For example, analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that from 2009 to 2019, hospital expenses went up 36%, but our insurance premiums went up 57%.

So analysts say it stands to reason that hospitals will be forced to hike expenses to dig out of debt. That will lead to higher insurance claims, and likely a steep hike in your premiums. So, I wanted to know how that might affect us right here in New York.

According to data compiled by QuoteWizard, an online insurance marketplace, New York already has the eighth highest hospital expenses in the country. Only seven had higher average expenses per visit, with North Dakota topping the list. But New York ranks second among the states with the highest health insurance premiums. Only Alaska ranks higher. So analysts predict that as New York’s already high hospital expenses get higher, expect a big hike in what you and your employer pay for insurance.

While we can’t do anything about that, we can manage health care costs within our control.

Here are some tips:

  • Know what’s free. The Affordable Care Act requires your insurer to cover the full cost of much of your preventive care, from your colonoscopy to your vaccines.
  •  Leverage your tax breaks. Take full advantage of your health spending account which is taken from your paycheck pre-tax.
  • And shop around for scans and diagnostic testing.

In my Deanna's Discoveries series, I gave you online tools to cost compare as well as a site where you can see what the average cost should be in our area.

Consumer reports also has some great tips managing healthcare costs, as well as dealing with health care expenses during a pandemic.

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