CareFirst proposes 25 percent rate increase

Photo: Alex E. Proimos via Creative Commons

Starting this year, Americans will be required by law to carry health insurance, but for thousands of people in Maryland, one of the most popular individual policies could cost a lot more.{}

CareFirst{}BlueCross BlueShield{}has{}released its plan to raise its rates.

Stopping by the Bethesda Co-op health food store for snacks, Benjamin Snider of Bethesda says it’s stressful getting his teaching degree and wondering how he’ll afford the high cost of health care when he goes off his parents’ plan.

“I’m really worried that I’m finally going to be done with college and out on my own and not even be able to live,” he says.

Bethesda resident Katherine Winslow is also worried.

“I can’t afford that! I can’t even afford school! If they bring the rates up and I’m not on my stepmother’s plan, I’m doomed,” she says.

The proposed{}CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield rate increase for individuals is a whopping 25 percent.

When it comes to health care premium hikes, Maryland has some of the toughest laws in the nation, requiring approval by the General Assembly.

The executive director of Governor Martin O'Malley's Office of Health Care Reform says “the proposed hikes are just that – proposed.”

Before any health care costs are passed on to consumers, the Maryland state commissioner will conduct a careful review of cost versus premiums.

One Mid-Atlantic acupuncturist, who did not want to be named, is both a CareFirst customer and a health care provider. She knows it’s already hard for individuals to buy their own coverage without company subsidies.

“You know, you have to pay for it all on your own so there’s nobody subsidizing it for you and it seems you pay a lot and you have a high deductible because for most people that’s all they can afford,” she says.

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