Spiraling Healthcare Costs

I just got a notice in the mail from United Healthcare. My premium will be going up by 21 percent on November 1st. That’s right… 21 percent in a single year. Although politicians campaigned on the issue, and Bush and Kerry continually pointed to the rising costs of healthcare as a grave concern during the 2004 presidential debates, nothing has been done about it. This is despite the fact that annual premium increases of 15 to 25 percent have been commonplace recently, with overall inflation only running 2-3 percent per year, and wages that have been flat for four years running.

All we can do really, aside from shopping around for better rates (which I’m doing), is try and make some of this money back via the healthcare portion of our investment portfolios. United Healthcare (UNH) will continue to grow earnings at double digit rates as long as Washington doesn’t help us citizens out with healthcare reform. And that industry growth will persist regardless of whether gasoline is $1, $2, or $3 a gallon, or if Fed Funds are priced at 3%, 4%, or 5%.