We Don’t Need Another Department of Education!
Health Insurance Reform
By Victoria J. Braden
The United States does not need another Department of Education! We do not need Washington to collect our tax dollars, decide where these dollars are to be spent and send them back to the States.
We need healthcare reform, NOT a new government agency!
Before we re-work the entire U.S. Healthcare system, let’s look at what the issues really are – let’s not throw the preverbal baby out with the bathwater.
We have approximately 47 million American’s uninsured
They have a condition that makes them uninsurable for individual healthcare
The condition drives up their premiums therefore making healthcare too expensive
They work for a small business where the group is rated unfavorably when this person is included on the plan making it unaffordable to both the employer and employee
The person is eligible for public assistance but cannot work through the system to obtain the coverage
The individual is does not value healthcare and is not going to pay a dime toward coverage, even if their employer pays most of the cost
We have an industry that does not adhere to the rules of capitalism
Employees do not pay for their healthcare and are therefore unaware of the cost of services
Employers in small groups are not able to obtain loss ratios, large claim reports, demographic changes, etc. to understand the reasoning behind the premiums they are being charged or the increases they may have, they have no recourse to these increases
Employees believe healthcare in the form of health insurance is the responsibility of the employer and is therefore part of their compensation thus they use the system liberally
Employees in small groups have no incentive to participate in healthy lifestyles and in most cases they are not feed information regularly that would educate them on the physical risks of their current lifestyle decisions (there is no HR department and the employer/employees are trying to work in the company; the agent generally is not going to provide this.)
We talk about transparency for healthcare providers but do not talk about transparency for the actual insurance companies. If we are going to understand what a consumer is going to pay for a service, we also have to know what the insurance company is paying and what their discounts are
Small employers do not know what their agent is being paid and therefore cannot determine if they are getting a value
Healthcare providers do not know and have no way of checking if a person has insurance. When someone comes to the Emergency Room and has a high deductible plan, they may not tell the hospital they have insurance making the hospital file for indigent payment
Employees with high deductibles will try to negotiate with the healthcare providers to reduce their liability on the deductible. What these employees are missing is the fact that the price has already been discounted and this is their portion. Their savings came in the form of premium reduction.
Given this information, the solutions are easy – Take small steps, adjust the specific items addressed above
Tax incentives for individuals purchasing health insurance outside of an employer, self-employed or unemployed
Create an viable opportunity for uninsurable individuals to obtain quality coverage at a reasonable price on the open market
Provide small businesses who have an employee where the medical condition drives up the rates, a viable option – outlet
Double the tax savings to small businesses offering health insurance
Any small business offering health insurance coverage to their employees is taking money directly from the bottom line. It prevents a company from reinvesting this money in growth or for the employer to pay back the risk incurred in creating the business
Make public program eligibility known among the general public, employers and agents. Create the ability to easily register individuals online, whether covered by a group or seeking an individual policy easier
Work with insurance companies to educate the population on the real cost of healthcare. Create transparency on all fronts of the equation including the insurance companies and the agents
Require insurance companies to provide detailed renewal information to the employers (insurance is not hard, claims paid versus premium collected)
Educate individuals and create rewards relative to healthy lifestyles
Make healthcare accessible including moving government funded clinics into or close to hospitals so our ERs are not overrun with minor medical problems
By Victoria J Braden
All Rights Reserved