Durbin: Insurance Costs Up 60 Percent in Illinois - NBC Chicago

Durbin: Insurance Costs Up 60 Percent in Illinois



    Durbin: "Health Insurance Companies Aren't Going Slow"

    Sen. Dick Durbin breaks down the numbers on rising health care costs, saying insurance companies aren't "going slow," on rate hikes, as some GOP lawmakers would like Washington to do on reform. (Published Sunday, March 7, 2010)

    As the national health care debate marches on in Washington, residents in Illinois are facing soaring health insurance costs.

    Illinois insurance companies are raising their premiums by as much as 60 percent - at a time when they're also enjoying their highest profits. That's according to a release from Sen. Dick Durbin, who is pushing for President Barack Obama's health care reform bill.

    "For those who say go slow, I can tell them this -- the health insurance companies aren't going slow when it comes to raising premiums," the senator said at a Sunday press conference.

    Durbin said passing health care reform will help change the current system, which allows health insurance to profit while patients suffer.

    "Families are facing skyrocketing costs," Durbin said. "Emergency rooms are overflowing. Health centers are struggling to meet the increasing demand. Yet insurance companies continue to raise premiums for hardworking families and, consequently, their profit margins."

    Across the country, insurance premiums have risen 131 percent in the past decade, while wages have gone up just 38 percent, according to Durbin. That cost crunch means that on average, about 11,000 American workers lose their coverage every day.

    And at the same time, the 10 largest health insurance companies saw profits skyrocket 250 percent over the past decade.

    "The only thing rising faster than insurance company premiums is insurance company profits," Durbin said in a release.

    The senator said President Obama's plan will eliminate "unprecedented and unexplained hikes in premiums ... (and) end insurance company abuses."

    "It’s what Americans deserve, and we’re too close to let this opportunity pass us by," Durbin said.