At age 49, Bob Bush of Penfield is in a unique position.
“I started out as a critical care, registered nurse,” says Bob, “then I worked as a consultant with the VA healthcare system.”
Thanks to a few wise investments, Bob’s in early retirement, however, he still pays for his own health insurance.
“I've had Blue Choice since 1987 and I've had the same primary care provider since 1987 and been very pleased with the company,” says Bush, “it's a great plan.”
Bob, like most people in the
“I expected a slight increase. Every year it’s been a slight increase. I expected this year OK, it's going to be oh I don’t know, 520, 530 a month,” says Bush.
Unfortunately, Bob’s increase went up 70% to $843.88 per month.
“I was shocked. That will be nearly 10-thousand dollars that I will be paying for health insurance,” says Bush.
Bob is between a rock and a hard place because he cannot apply for a group plan, he's too young for Medicare and he makes too much money to be eligible for the Healthy New York Plan.
“So now I'm really at a quandary of what I will do. And I'm not a rich man...but I'm not a poor man.”
In the end, Bob may be stuck paying the new, increased monthly premium.
"I want my elected representatives who have the best health care in the country, to take a look at people like myself and those are much less fortunate and say these people deserve the same kind of health care."
This year many people like Bob are facing insurance spikes. It's a problem that's putting proposals for universal health care back in the political spotlight.
“We're going to have to do something about it, it's a very costly matter for our state not to have our young people insured,” says Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-14th District) who visited
“You can't imagine the cost of care when you don't take care of your citizens early in life--the burden that that causes later on in life is just astronomical.”
On the Republican side, Senator Joe Robach admits there are high prices to pay for health insurance but hasn't made up his mind on a universal health care proposal.
“What I like to do is have public hearings, forums, sometimes even have a poll or a questionnaire from the people I represent both to educate them and see what they feel of an issue of this magnitude,” says Robach (R-56th District).
Governor Spitzer has been holding public hearings the last few months across the State to find out whether New Yorkers like Bob are interested in a universal health plan.
“I have always been an advocate of Universal healthcare especially when you're taking care of patients who are dealing with massive heart attacks...and what they're dealing with is losing their health, losing their jobs, losing everything.”
A plan for any kind of universal health insurance access is still in very early steps. Major items such as cost and funding have yet to be discussed by lawmakers. There is a universal health care bill in the NYS Assembly but that bill has not made progress on either side of the NYS Legislature.