Since I discussed the continuing Flood Insurance discussion, it’s only fair that I talk about health insurance as well. I have seen the questions about high cost, Medicare, and opioid come up in varying ways, so I wanted to address those here.
First, it stymies me that folks don’t understand the high cost of health insurance. That is a given, what blows me out of the water is that the ACA (or Obamacare) raised rates 100% in four years in a row. Before the health care reform, increases averaged 35% to 40%.
If you put that in perspective of auto insurance rates that increase 5% to 7% monthly – then it becomes better to understand. Think about it this way too, according to an article from CNBC, from 2005 to 2013 the average cost paid for bodily injury claims increased by 32%. Those same costs can be associated with health insurance as well.
Much like auto insurance, under the ACA, the health insurance carrier relies on the good health insured to even the scales just as the auto insurer relies on the no claims insured. That is the main reason why the current health care program requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
The problem lies in increasing health costs. We live in a capitalist country so it would be hard to curb or regulate the healthcare industry. In addition, the ACA also added in things that weren’t necessarily covered before and made them mandatory – such as mental health, maternity, pre-existing conditions, and prescriptions. On top of that, add the current opioid crisis and/or the push for legalizing marijuana nationally and that equals a brilliant mess.
To be ‘in-network’ doctors negotiate special prices with health insurers for the procedures/diagnostics they provide. In other words, as an example, Company A agrees to pay the provider $30 amount for say an ‘x-ray’, but company B agrees to pay the provider $50 for the same procedure. But, as a non-insured, they may request payment of $100 from you for that procedure.
Under our current system, approximately 49% have insurance through their employer, 34% from Medicare or Medicaid and then 13% are covered through the individual market, the ACA, or the Veterans Administration.
What is needed is a reliable way for insured’s to check costs of health care providers. It shouldn’t be such a mystery. For a while the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) claimed to be monitoring such things and that the general public could check in with them; however, that is not currently available on their site. The only website out there currently is Healthcare Bluebook. You can compare prices and services; however, it only has certain states/cities available for research because not all practitioners participate.
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