It’s Health Insurance Time Again

My employer offers coverage for me, and I can add my wife and child onto the plan through my work.  I knew already that I was paying a lot, but I was taken by surprise when the policy jumped almost 10% last year.  I went from paying about $550 a month to $610 a month.

I was caught off guard last year, so this year I’ve already started shopping around to see if I can get a better price for my wife and kid to get insured through another small group plan.  Anything off of that $7,200 a year I can save would be awesome.

Every year, our health care representative comes in and shows us how much it has gone up and explains that it’s because we want the best technology and the best drugs and that is what drives the cost.  Doesn’t it seem strange that technology makes the costs go up?  Most of the time, better technology lowers costs and raises efficiency.

Why then, in health care, is the opposite true?

First, we have to look at the difference between health insurance and health coverage.  While most people think they’re synonymous, they aren’t.  Insurance should only be for catastrophes, not fore every day doctor visits.  Today, we all have “coverage” through our HMOs where we can’t even go see a doctor unless we are covered.

Since HMOs and other health care companies are for-profit, they are in the business of controlling costs.  So as they try to pressure doctors to keep costs down, the doctors push back by charging the maximum they can to the insurance company.

We need to take back control of our health care system.  We need to stop the drug, medical companies, and insurance companies from dictating prices.  There is no competition for pricing, and there is no incentive to bring costs down.  Also, there are no real alternatives offered.

If individuals and not big companies or government entities were responsible for footing the bill, the costs would come down.  Instead of paying huge premiums to health care companies, we should be able to put our money into medical savings account using pre tax dollars.  That can cover our routine medical care, and we could pay for catastrophe insurance with that money as well.

Think about if we paid cash for every day doctor visits and paid a small amount for our insurance.  If every doctor visit was $100 and my family went 12 times, that would be $1200.  If I paid $200 a month for insurance (not coverage), that’s $2400.  That total is half of what I pay now, and probably another $3,000 or so that my company pays for me.  The savings could be close to $6,000 a year.  That is an extra $500 a month in my pocket.

Also, for malpractice, I agree with Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.  He says that patients should have the option to pay for malpractice insurance before every major procedure.  It would be very affordable and would cover a certain dollar amount in case something goes wrong.  It doesn’t make sense that malpractice insurance is added into the costs of everyone.  It should be offered when you need it.

Government mandated that all companies had to offer HMOs in the HMO Act of 1973, and government runs medicare.  So government intervention in the health care industry has created a system where it pays for everyone to charge the most they can get.  In a free society, it would make sense to compete for your business and keep costs down.

I am not a proponent of “health care for all.”  I do not think that the Federal Government should be involved in the health care of a nation.  Costs would spiral out of control and the quality of the care would decline.  Imagine your doctor being like going to the DMV.  Yikes!

Government had good intentions with Medicare and I’m sure there are ways to solve the problems it is facing.  I just think that government running a huge insurance company creates so much bureaucracy, leads to fraud, and encourages doctors and drug and device companies to charge more.

Maybe these ideas are naive and too radical for most people.  It is just that the only alternatives we are presented are along the lines of cheaper drugs or lower co-pays.  There is never discussion about the entire health care system.

We need to wake up and realize that the system we have creates inefficiencies, stifles competition, and encourages charging the highest amount possible.  There has to be something better, right?

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