[…] Copays and deductibles have risen for most families over the last few years, even those who don’t have policies that qualify as high deductible. And at the same time, economic stability has decreased for most families. This isn’t a good combination, and Joe’s right about the fact that when people skip necessary routine medical care, it will likely lead to increased medical costs (and declining health) in the future.
[…] A lot has been said about over-utilization of health care lately, and the need to reduce both cost and utilization in order to make our health care system sustainable. But I have to wonder how many urgent care clinic front desk people would be willing to give out free advice like that, and how many would have just taken our insurance info and sent us in to see the doctor?
[…] But the reason I have health insurance is to protect our family in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury. If that were to happen, I want to know that I have a real health insurance company paying my bills, and legal recourse in the event of a dispute. I like knowing that my health insurance policy is regulated by Colorado’s Division of Insurance, and I like the fact that it doesn’t say “this is not health insurance” anywhere on my policy information. […]
I have often thought that an instant billing/payment system for medical offices (sort of a Visa/Mastercard type of setup between providers and health insurance carriers) was long-overdue. This New York Times article details exactly how such a system could work, but also addresses some of the problems it would face. The main issue is the complicated nature of health insurance billing, with thousands of medical codes that the doctor’s office has to sort through in order to correctly submit a bill. […]
The IRS has just issued Revenue Procedure 2010-22, which outlines the 2011 cost-of-living contribution and coverage adjustments for HSAs, as mandated under Code Section 223(g). The limits for 2011 are unchanged from 2010.
HDHP Minimum Deductible:
You must still have coverage under an HSA-qualified “high deductible health insurance plan” (HDHP) to open and contribute to an HSA. Federal law still requires that in 2011 the health insurance deductible be at least […]
[…] Premiums for health insurance in the individual market are lower than those in the group market, but there’s no employer paying a portion of the premium. And the premiums alone amount to 10% of household income. When you add in the deductibles and other out of pocket expenses, it’s not surprising at all that nearly half of everyone buying insurance in the individual market was considered high-burden in 2006 (spending more than 10% of household income on health care). […]
[…] A new report from AHIP notes that the number of Americans covered by HDHP/HSA policies reached 10 million in 2010, up from 8 million last year. In Colorado, 9.2% of the under-65, privately insured population has HSA qualified coverage, which is the third-highest percentage in the nation. A recent study by the Mountain States Employers Council reports that 27% of Colorado employers surveyed are offering consumer-driven health plans this year, up from 21% last year. […]
[…] His Plain Language In insurance bill passed out of the House last week, and is headed for the Senate this week. It would require that all auto, dental, long term care, and health insurance policies sold in Colorado be written at no more than a 10th grade reading level starting in 2010. It would also require that all the fine print be no finer than a 10 point font. […]
[…] Individual health insurance is a great option for people who are healthy, and especially those who are relatively young… But the price increases with age, and many early retirees find it a challenge to pay for health insurance during the years before they are eligible for Medicare. My guess is that even if private individual policies could be purchased by people over the age of 65, very few people would take that option, simply because of the price.
[…] Perhaps the question we should be asking is not who should be paying for healthcare, but rather, why in the world are we paying so much in the first place? Health insurance premiums will continue to rise as long as health care costs do the same. It won’t do any good to try to address premiums without first figuring out why we’re paying so much for our health care in the first place, and doing something about it.
[…] But these numbers would seem to indicate that while Anthem’s rate increase may have been large, it seems to be in line with what other carriers are charging in Colorado. For the little test I conducted, Anthem’s premium was the second-lowest I found, and the only one with a lower premium had an additional thousand dollars in out of pocket exposure.
[…] We’ll have to wait and see what congress comes up with next week during their summit with the president, but there’s no way they’re going to make something out of nothing. In order to provide health insurance for everyone, we’ll either have to give up some freedoms (in the form of a mandate requiring everyone to carry coverage) or pay a little extra in taxes or premiums.
[…] We cannot continue to just tack on more mandates that increase health insurance benefits without addressing the inevitable premium increases that will follow. We absolutely need to address the problem of people facing staggering bills when a medical condition is not covered at all by their health insurance, but if we continue to add mandates without looking for ways to bring down costs, we’re only going to push more people into being uninsured.
[…] It’s hard to have an effective dialog about costs and cost-control when the average person has no idea what the costs actually are, and no realistic way of finding out. EOBs are great, but they only come after a person has received treatment, and thus aren’t particularly useful in terms of comparison shopping. Kefalas’ bill would be a good step towards transparency in health care costs, and I hope it is well received.
Gary VanderArk and Gretchen Hammer, president and executive director of the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, have written an opinion piece for the Denver Post about how health care reform will benefit the people of Colorado. I agree with their analysis – there will be a lot positive changes once health care reform takes effect, especially for low-income Coloradans and those who are currently uninsured […]
The 2010 legislative session in Colorado got underway this week, and included the introduction of a few bills aimed at health insurance reform on a state level. HB 1008 would make it illegal for gender to be used in the determination of health insurance premiums, HB 1021 would require reproductive services to be covered by health insurance, and HB 1004 would implement standardized explanation of benefit (EOB) forms for insureds. […]
[…] In Colorado, a similar law took effect last week, requiring health insurance companies to cover various preventive care at the level of the policy co-insurance. It will be interesting to see how this law impacts both premium and health in Colorado over the next few years. Will more people seek out preventive care? Will we be healthier as a result? Will our health insurance premiums increase even more than they already do? We’ll have to wait and see.
[…] Even if the cost of the test is only counted towards a patient’s deductible (as might be the case if the patient has an HSA qualified plan, for example), just knowing that it will be billed to the health insurance company might make a patient more likely to get the test. In addition, billing the test to a health insurance company is likely to result in a lowered final price for the patient based on network negotiated rates. All around, it makes sense for dental offices that provide HIV screening to be able to bill a patient’s health insurance company for the test.
[…] The number of people with HSA qualified plans has been steadily increasing over the last few years, and the plans are very popular with our Colorado clients who purchase their own health insurance. For anyone who doesn’t want to have to choose between investing and saving for a medical emergency, HSAs are a perfect fit.
[…] We know that there are families out there who are paying more than a thousand dollars a month for their health insurance. But they are the exception rather than the rule. The Daily Kos article makes it sound like the average family will end the year with nearly $7000 in their pockets from premium savings, and that just doesn’t add up.
The Healthcare Economist’s Jason Shafrin has written an interesting article about how the French healthcare system utilizes hyperbolic discounting in order to avoid moral hazard. Basically, their system requires the patient to pay up front for a visit to the doctor, but then health insurance reimburses the patient 70% of the cost. This has two advantages over a system like ours which only requires the patient to pay their copay at the time of service. First, it conveys the value of the visit. Here in the US, people who have health insurance with copays for office visit are often unaware of the actual cost of the visit. They pay their copay and the rest is billed to the health insurance company. People who read their EOBs will see the actual billed amount and the amount that the insurance company paid, but I doubt that everyone reads their EOBs […]
[…] When Jay hurt his knee a couple years ago, an MRI was done prior to surgery. We have an HSA qualified health insurance policy, and at the time our deductible was $3000. So we paid for the MRI ourselves, and it amounted to more than a third of the deductible. And that was after Humana reduced the bill to the network negotiated amount. MRIs have helped to make medicine a much more exact science, but they are not cheap.
It seems that any system that pays physicians – directly or indirectly – to order additional testing will end up with excessive testing, adding to the overall cost of health care. Even doctors with the best of intentions are likely to be swayed by the knowledge that they can boost their paychecks by adding a few MRIs here and there.
I believe that the number of tests a doctors orders should not impact his or her income. And it seems that adding more medical imaging facilities in primary care offices will only increase our already burgeoning health care costs […]
[…] There’s no doubt that a co-insurance based system would make people more aware of what health care actually costs. Nobody should have to devote their life to trying to obtain coverage for a serious medical problem, but on the other end of the spectrum, perhaps nobody should be paying only $15 to see a doctor, and a deductible of a couple hundred dollars a year. […]
[…] But with any commodity in the marketplace, there will always be people who can’t afford it. The life or death nature of access to health care makes it too important to place it on the same shelf as cars and jeans and high-end organic potato chips. It people can’t afford (and thus don’t purchase) those things, they will still be ok. The same can’t really be said for health care.
I just read this article from NPR and Kaiser Health News about Lyn Robinson, a 52 year old woman who has chosen to be uninsured. Lyn is very healthy. She leads an active life and takes good care of herself. She pays out of pocket for alternative health care like acupuncture and chiropractic care – things that often aren’t covered by health insurance policies anyway. […]