Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 3, 2016, “Readers Write”
I am watching closely how much health insurance companies decide to raise premiums for 2017 (“Blue Cross retreat prompts re-evaluation by insurance competitors,” July 29). Our daughter is one of the 103,000 Minnesotans who will lose their Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) coverage next year.
My daughter is also one of the patients all insurance companies are trying to avoid. In 2014, she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer. When she was no longer able to continue her job teaching middle school, her insurance through her employer ended and she purchased an individual plan from BCBS.
Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Our daughter and others like her would have been left without health insurance. Now BCBS accomplishes the same thing by leaving the whole individual market. For a “nonprofit” insurer, this sounds a lot like what a for-profit corporation might do to increase profits by lopping off an underperforming segment of its operation.
Cancer treatment is expensive. While it took many months, our daughter is back — her personality, her ability to participate in the community and her opportunity to do some traveling before the tumor starts to grow again.
It is important that everyone has access to health care when they need it. There will come a time when we or someone we love will need expensive medical care. If insurance companies are allowed to cover only those they can profit from, we will all suffer.
Richard Blake, Grand Rapids, Minn.
The writer is a member of the Grand Rapids City Council.