Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Those pay-it-yourself insurance plans

…Somewhere along the line, some insured-up-the-wazoo bureaucrat decided people didn’t know how much health care cost (those silly patients, they think a trip to the doctor is only $20), and started with this Health Savings Acct stuff.

…Basically, you are self-insuring. If something happens, you pay!

…Yes, you have a “catastrophic” plan, which HA heard described recently as covering only things insurance companies decided were catastrophic. What it really means is it covers only things that happen after a deductible is met.

…They got this name because people used to get them in case they went into the hospital---considered to be a financial catastrophe.

…These policies, often (but not always) offered by offbrand companies, are sporting because some things are not under the deductible and some are. Get sick and see which is which.

…And people with pre-existing conditions often cannot get the plan.

…Kim Dixon, writing for Reuters on Dec 7, 2006, found that these arrangements (which are supposed to be a tax-favored savings acct PLUS a high-deductible plan) are making people scrimp on care.

…Duh.

…They also didn’t attract the uninsured. If you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford the high-deductible plan plus the savings deposits.

…Double duh.

…So far pretty healthy, well off people are getting these.

…But of course, employers are now pressing them more than ever.

…Still, only 8% of people have this, about the same as in 2005.

…Only 1% of those have funded the savings acct, which is supposed to pay for things before the insurance kicks in.

…Hospitals are seeing more bad debt, even from people with this form of “insurance.” If you spend three hours in the ER and don’t have a couple of grand to fork over since you have nothing in your savings acct, you may never be able to pay it off.

…Consumers are less thrilled.

…HA pays almost $700 a mo for an HMO and with pre-exsitings, she was lucky to get that (it started out as state-sponsored for the uninsurable).

…She could not even get the high-deductible policy.

…What if—crazy idea—insurance pooled everyone together and let it sort itself out. If people had money, they could buy a policy and would not be discriminated against because they might use it..

…If people could not do that, because companies need healthy workers and unhealthy people cost someone money, the government would put a floor under people in the national interest.

…No, let’s let people just pay for themselves, hope ya live, whatEV.

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