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Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Like many health care subscribers who have been with one provider for many years, electronics engineer Michael Fry thought he had some minimal security from his health plan. He doesn't think that anymore, after receiving a notice from Kaiser that pushes his monthly premium up by 73 percent, to $961, beginning Jan. 1. The increase is $406 and means...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Jon Pastoria, 38, is a corporate recruiter, a financially savvy entrepreneur who makes decent money. But being sophisticated about finances is no match these days for the depredations of California's health insurance system, whose abuses are now striking down the middle class in the same way they've always struck down the poor. After years of...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Jon Marcus, an executive recruiter, has been insuring himself for several years through Blue Shield. But endless rounds of rate hikes have his head spinning. "I realize as I see health care costs rising, that we are all reliant on the health insurance system to afford any kind of health care need." Marcus has been driven to sign on for...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Art Letter has been around the block a few times. As a civil servant and consultant for decades, he is intimately conversant with the way government works, and he even developed expertise on the state's health care delivery system when he served on an independent health commission in the early 1980s. So when Art's health care costs shot through...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Five years ago, Jodi Greggs, then a 38-year-old, much-in-demand Licensed Vocational Nurse, went to provide a "standby assist" for a 200-pound patient from his bed to his wheelchair. In making the transition, the patient slipped, and grabbed Jodi's shoulder for support. That move was the first step in a series that led to profound and...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
There are many ways for health insurers to sock it to health care consumers these days. They knocked Murray Axelrod around because of his address. Because of where he hangs his hat - or hung it - Murray's health care costs have shot into the stratosphere. Murray, 64, is a retired grocery clerk. His union, Local 770 of the Retail Clerks, took care...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Five years ago, as she watched her health care costs surge to stratospheric heights, Laura Moe opted for what seemed to her the only feasible solution to health care costs: stay healthy and wait for Medicare to kick in. Laura, 61, a native San Franciscan, simply can't afford to buy health care. Not having it makes the self-insured small business...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Penny Ericson, a self-employed transcriber who lives in the vastnesses of Los Angeles, feels like a yo-yo, so furiously has her health provider, Blue Cross, jumped her premiums up and down over the past decade. In the past two years, the movement has been all upward, and she is now paying roughly $1,700 more a quarter than she did when she joined...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Brad Brown still is scraping together enough money to buy health insurance for his wife and two children. But it is getting more difficult with every increase, and the relentless rise in costs - the most recent was 45 percent - is depleting not only his bank account but also his faith in the system. "You have to stay positive, but we are both...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
When I found myself between jobs last year, I knew I would go through rough times taking care of my health needs until I found a new employer. Nevertheless, I thought I could handle it, for a while at least. Today I can only look back in wonder and anger at how naive I was and how ruthless Kaiser Permanente is. I am now paying far more for health...