Health Care Rates Poised to Soar: San Francisco and Its Workers to Foot the Bill

Categories: Government, Health
Rockwell doctor.jpg
Norman Rockwell
"Sixteen percent, doc? Can I get two lollipops, then?"
Being presented with a whopping health care bill is enough to make you ill all over again. It's even worse when one is stuck with a surprise bill. And that's just happened to San Francisco and its employees.

Distressing numbers revealed at yesterday's Health Service System board meeting caught the city off guard. Rates for the Blue Shield HMO plan used by thousands of city workers are set to skyrocket by 15.9 percent in the coming year. This is a jump of nearly three times what the city anticipated in a bad scenario.

To put things in perspective, the rates for the city's other health plans -- the City Plan PPO and Kaiser HMO -- will grow by only 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Misery loves company, and both the city and its workers figure to take a hit. On single employees, whom the city largely subsidizes, the government's coffers will suffer. But for employees with families, who pay much more out of pocket, this is dire news.

Other than increased costs for one and all, it's difficult to predict what will come of this unexpected doctor's bill. A cavalcade of workers leaving Blue Shield and heading to Kaiser wouldn't be the craziest scenario.

When it comes to exploding health care costs, it seems there's no simple prescription.

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