Posts tagged: health care
My Sunday column. Comment here.
From the comments thus far posted after the column, some points:
1. Yes, third-party payers drive up costs. I've yet to see the “free market solution” that drives up access. Costs are lower — much lower — in other countries with universal access. None of them have free-market systems. Most of the reforms I've seen retain the third-party system (you get coverage from employer, who gets it from insurers. They make deals on what will be covered). Government tax policy drives this system, yet it has avoided the moniker “government run.” Drop the tax break and see how fast your employer drops your coverage.
2. Costs are going up because the boomers are getting old. Surely, that's part of it, especially as it relates to Medicare. But costs were going up before they reached that age. Why? Those same forces remain in place with the repeal of reform. In time, this boomer bow wave will pass. Think prices will go down at that point?
Three topics in today’s Smart Bombs. Noticed this morning that the KPBX hosts smoothly folded the column into their pitches. Dang, they are good. Was also glad that they took the comment in the right spirit.
Thoughts on these topics?
I just read a list serve comment by a woman who had an insurance issue over the cost of her son’s physical exam for high school football. The details aren’t important.
My question is as follows:
Hypothetically, an insurance policy provides one free physical exam every year. The cost is spread out among all the policy holders, all of whom are entitled to one physical every year.
They won’t all avail themselves of that, but if they did, the insurer would theoretically pay out the same as it collected in premiums, less copays or deductibles, wherein it would realize a profit. Since many people won’t take the physicals, the profit will go up…and maybe the premiums would even be adjusted downward slightly once the state insurance commissioner weighed in.
Still, individual policy holders would, at worst, break even if they just paid for the physical out of pocket. Then might even save money by removing the insurance company profit from the calculation.
So why are such routine and predictable things part of a health insurance policy? Shouldn’t insurance be to spread the risk around over things that can’t be anticipated, like being attacked by a Grizzly?