We all should know by now that the health insurance companies are gouging us. The lack of competition is obvious and the free market is not being allowed to work. Here are some highlights from an article explaining how bad it is getting:
- The Commonwealth Fund counts adults as underinsured if they meet one of two conditions: their out-of-pocket costs totaled 10 percent or more of their income or if their deductible was 5 percent or more of total income. And they found that 23 percent of Americans with insurance fit into this category — up from 12 percent in 2003.
- Americans have worse coverage because their deductibles are rising. When you dig into the data, you see that this is really a story about deductibles going up — way up. Insurance plans without deductibles are disappearing. And plans with big deductibles that used to be a rarity — those upward of $3,000 — are now becoming increasingly common.
- Your employer’s health insurance costs are going down but yours are going up.The higher deductibles are part of a larger trend happening in the health insurance market right now: employers increasingly shifting the burden of paying for health care to workers.
- The theory of higher deductibles is that they’ll make consumers more cost-conscious. This recent bout of slow health-cost growth suggests this theory is right (as does a big, long body of research). But consumers don’t seem to be reaping the dividends of their cost-conscious decision-making. Those benefits go to the employer rather than the worker. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Fund data suggests that consumers might be becoming cost-conscious in the wrong way: not cutting out elective treatments or unnecessary care, but skimping on prescription drugs or doctor visits that could prevent higher health-care costs in the long run.
The ACA was a big front for the insurance companies and these guys are laughing all the way to the bank. I agree with many of my readers that a single payer system would just be as bad because the government is incompetent (see Veteran’s Administration). There needs to be a better plan(s) put out there that allows the free market to work. I would start with a reputable insurer offering catastrophic plans ONLY which forces people to shop around for the rest of their care. The health ministry plans do this and my patients love it. That way a patient is not on the hook for a massive bill but still has skin in the game for all other medical bills. Could it be that simple? Yes.