KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Health Insurance Poised To Spike In Coming Years

Dec 29, 2020, 6:07 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Brace yourself: The amount Utahns pay for health insurance could go up in the coming years, insurance experts said, and it’s not because of COVID-19 — at least not directly.

People put off a lot of elective surgeries to avoid going to hospitals and possibly contracting COVID-19. For the moment, it’s left insurance companies with a lot of extra money – so much so that, by law, many Americans will be entitled to refunds for 2020 insurance premiums.

But Les Masterson of Insure.com said the probable-refund is nothing to celebrate because it means people put off necessary care. That’s bad for their health and ultimately bad for everyone’s premiums.

Insurance companies are doing what they do every year — trying to guess what next year will bring — and Masterson said insurance companies are worried.

“They’re afraid in the next couple years, they’re going to get hit with all this pent up care,” he told the KSL Investigators.

With the vaccine, more people are likely going to seek care next year, which will have insurance companies paying out more. Masterson said the price spike could really come a year from now, and then for a few years.

Yes, people will be going to the doctor again but the real fear is that those who delayed treatment of health issues in 2020 will have allowed those minor issues to grow in scope — which will end up costing a lot more money to treat in the coming years.

“In the long run, if they’re putting off necessary care a year or two down the road, it could end up being a lot more expensive, both for them to pay for and for the insurer,” Masterson said.

Putting off medical procedures isn’t just about a fear of COVID-19. Sadly, because health insurance for about half of all Americans is tied to their jobs, somewhere around 11% of people have lost insurance this year, according to a survey by insure.com.

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Gephardt: Health Insurance Poised To Spike In Coming Years