Friday, March 20, 2009

The Health Insurance Scam

It's health insurance renewal time here at my job and having to discuss this sort of thing for the first time in my wife had the real cost of health insurance actually sinking in. At our small company we've got a choice of plans, some with high deductibles, some with no deductibles, with costs for a young couple like my wife and myself ranging from under $500 a month to over $1,000 a month. The company pays a substantial percentage of that cost, while the employees have the remainder deducted from their paychecks.

Do the math and cut those figures in half. A young single person in their 20's who works for 10 years could have paid (between both themselves and what their company pays for them as a form of compensation) over $50,000 in health insurance. That's a hell of a lot of money, money that even having had a major knee procedure I haven't come close to using all of. So why do we pay so much for health coverage that we don't use? Simply because that's the system we have, the one that's encourage by law and the one that we're familiar with.

But imagine an alternate universe where all that money we spend on health insurance went instead to some form of personal health savings accounts. This way, as people get older, the money that they pay for health care would accrue over time. If you lose your job, hit hard times, and could no longer afford your health care costs, you're coverage wouldn't just disapear over night, as it does under our current insurance system. Your current payments wouldn't just be for current coverage, but future coverage as well, regardless of your ability to pay in the future.

This doesn't mean there's no role for health insurance, only that health insurance could be restored to it's proper role of providing for rare catastrophic and expensive care at low premiums.

I was never a big fan of the idea of health savings accounts, until I actually thought about the money involved, but it is a workable idea that restores more power to individuals as purcasers of health care services.


Anonymous rose said...

HSA's augmented by a high deductible plan make a ton of sense to me. I just wanted to point out one positive externality as well.

An HSA gives a consumer an incentive not to overconsume healthcare, since they've got to pay for it out of pocket. That demand reduction drives down prices for everyone.

Another effect: The price a doctor charges now matters. Consumers will shop around for the best price/quality combo like any other product. Online companies are spawning that rate doctors hospitals, provide pricing info etc.

HSA's not only could save you money directly, but they finally create an incentive for the consumer to not overconsume and to care about price. Competition is promoted.

Oh and BTW, democrats hate them for the usual dumb reasons.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even understand why people go to doctors. You can stay a lot healthier by staying away from these people and learning how to take care of yourself. I was once diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and I would have nothing to do with steroids. I designed my own protocol that cured me (yes, cured). It was herbs (yucca and devil's claw) and B complex with extra pantothenic acid and B6 and lots of C. My hands "unclawed" and my hips stopped hurting. The rheumatologist was in awe. He thought I would need a hip replacement.

I had shortness of breath, no energy, and felt like I was dying. I put all the symptoms in google with the name of a board certified cardiologist who is NOT mainstream (Stephen Sinatra, M.D.) and found out about d-ribose from his site . I bought it immediately from Whole Foods and my family watched me come back to normal. Without it I have heart problems. (you can find the studies that back it up for metabolic cardiology).

I was pre-diabetic. Low carb took care of that. Are we so mesmerized by commercials telling us we are ill and have to get tested and treated that no one can figure out how to take care of themselves? Read the news lately? Prostate testing and mammograms don't save lives. Of course not. Mammograms cause cancer - look at those who never get them. Their rate of breast cancer is less. Radiation is both carcinogenic and cumulative.

BLECH to mainstream med, insurance and sheeple (people who act like sheep).

And my ten years of neck pain? No one figured it out but me: thyroid! I take Armour and no more pain. Insurance would have been a waste of money. We only need catastrophic insurance, not the kind that puts people in the hands of ignorant, cookie cutter doctors.

6:16 AM  

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