Health care costs are ludicrous in the U.S.

So, a 26 percent health insurance premium increase for Kaiser, 35 percent for HMSA, for individual policyholders in Hawaii for 2017? At what point do they think we will break — the self-employed and those who do not receive health insurance benefits from employers?

We typically do not receive subsidies from the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) so we are targeted with unfathomable, unreasonable increases approved by our state government.

Before ACA, self-employed paid their $600 a month for health care insurance but were at risk for being dropped when we became sick. No refunds on premiums. Now with ACA, combined insurance/hospital systems cannot drop us, but apparently they can push their expenses onto us.

Health care costs are ludicrous in the U.S.: a core problem with health care and it’s not being addressed. An extreme example is a recent viral post of a young father charged $40 for skin-to-skin contact with his newborn.

My Hawaii insurance company is also my health care provider. When I went to the top of their system to demand they perform outpatient surgery for my child’s repeated bladder infections, the discharge papers showed “reason” for procedure as “complaint.”

What a system. Something like 30 percent of “nonprofit” hospital costs are for insurance and administration coding. That, combined with executive salaries, makes up $12-plus of the $40 in skin-to-skin touch of a father to his child. There is something seriously wrong with this system. We’re bandaging a problem. Unfortunately, the bandage is held taut by the self-employed.

Kelli Lundgren

Kihei

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