[…] 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 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.
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 […]
How To Cope With Pain brings us a truly amazing video. It’s a reminder to be thankful for all that we have, and for the things in life (like this video) that inspire us. It’s well worth the five minutes it takes to watch it.
Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine shares a “would you rather…?” moment from her 9-year old daughter. It’s a poignant reminder, seen through the eyes of a child, that all of the parts of our lives – even the bad parts – combine to make us who we are […]
[…] 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. […]
[…]In Colorado, we have the health plan description form that is standardized and makes comparing plans somewhat simple. But it tends to get buried in marketing materials, and is often overlooked by consumers. I would take this a step further and make sure that all plans – regardless of where they are sold – clearly state the important details up front.[…]
[…] So while we need to do a better job of stressing personal responsibility in health care, we also need to make sure that everyone has access to quality health care and a good catastrophic health insurance policy. The health care problems that we’re facing aren’t going to be solved by government alone, but they also aren’t going to be solved without any government action at all.
[…] no matter how careful we are, we never really know what is around the bend when it comes to our health. Accidents can happen to even the healthiest people. Freak illnesses can strike otherwise healthy people. And when these situations arise for people who are uninsured, the cost is eventually borne by those who have health insurance.
[…] Many proponents of a shift away from medical underwriting want to require everyone to carry health insurance. That would help spread the cost of care across a larger population, and would likely help to contain the price increase that we would see if medical underwriting were to cease. But my guess is that we would still see a rather dramatic increase in premiums.
Much has been said about the merits of preventive medicine. It’s been a major talking point for politicians on both sides of the aisle throughout the health care reform debate. Whatever reform measures end up being enacted, there is likely to be an enhanced focus on screening tests. […] But does preventive medicine really help? […]
[…] Jaan homes in on the notion Bob puts forth that health insurance carriers are responsible for spiraling healthcare costs, and should thus be accountable for keeping those costs in check. I agree with Jaan here – health insurance companies are already highly regulated entities, and don’t have as much say when it comes to costs as the public would like to believe. […]
[…] I know that a lot of our clients in Colorado request HSA qualified plans, mainly because the premiums tend to be lower. But the perspective probably looks a whole lot different if you’re not only funding your own HSA and paying for your own high deductible health insurance, but also facing the prospect of meeting that deductible year after year.
[…] It’s a lot of hoops to jump through, but if you have an individual health insurance policy in a state like Colorado that allows pre-existing condition exclusion riders, you might want to double check to see if your rider can be re-evaluated. Most carriers in Colorado require that the condition be resolved for at least a year before you can request a review of the rider. […]
[…] the al la carte insurance idea, written as a piece of satirical genius, reminded me of policies that are sold by some of the less scrupulous health insurance carriers in Colorado. If your health insurance application is asking you to decide whether you’d like to have coverage for cancer and ambulance rides, you might want to keep shopping.
[…] We’re thrilled with Humana’s decision, and we’re glad to be able to offer their policies to our clients in Colorado. Jay’s knees are really the first time we’ve had to use our health insurance for anything more than preventive care, and we’re happy to be able to report that everything has worked the way it’s supposed to. […]
[…] There really is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health insurance. In terms of health care reform, unless someone just starts handing out free health care (without tax increases or premiums…), it will be tough to get people to agree on a single plan, or even a handful of coverage options. […]
[…] it’s all fine and good for a surgeon to have assistants, but doesn’t it seem that those assistants should be part of the same health insurance networks as the primary surgeon? After all of the effort we went through to make sure that we wouldn’t get hit with another out of network charge, this is frustrating to say the least.
[…] But some students have done their own research and found an individual health insurance policy that better fits their needs and/or budget, and they would prefer to be given the option of keeping that policy. For those students, we feel that colleges should reconsider their waiver requirements and treat their students as adults who are capable of making their own decisions.
[…] Some people don’t have a car or health insurance, especially in our current economy. Programs like Medicaid and Colorado’s Child Health Plan Plus are very necessary, and I support efforts to expand those programs to more low-income families. But there are people willing to pay more than $150/month for a car, but hate the idea of paying $150 to see a doctor. […]
[…] The changes will go into effect on July 1, 2009 and will require all Colorado health insurance providers to cover preventive colon cancer screening for policy holders over the age of 50, and screening for younger policy holders who are considered at high risk for colon cancer. The legislation pertains to both individual and group health insurance policies. […]
We’re pleased to report that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is now offering same sex domestic partner coverage on individual health insurance policies in Colorado. Many large group plans have been offering coverage for same sex domestic partners for a while now, but this hasn’t been the case in the individual health insurance market. […]
[…] I looked at premiums for $5,000 deductible HSA qualified policies from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Assurant, Cigna, Humana, and United HealthOne. If lawmakers disallow the use of gender to determine individual health insurance premiums in Colorado, younger women and older men will have lower premiums, while younger men and older women will have higher premiums. There won’t be any actual benefit to the overall population – health insurance premiums will just be averaged for men and women.