Health Care Costs– Insurers really don’t Care

This today in the Seattle Times emphasizes the holes in todays health insurance policies. Insurers, particularly the for profit ones, are not about financing care but about assuring profits. What’s happens when you really are sick? Where can we draw the line on care?

“”It’s not just the uninsured. It’s people who have insurance that doesn’t protect them” who are fueling the hunger for reform, said Sara Collins, an economist and a vice president at The Commonwealth Fund, a private health-care foundation in New York.”

“Until about a year ago, Moody and Krull lived comfortably on her earnings as an associate broker for Windermere Real Estate. But despite their income and his seemingly gold-plated coverage, he can’t get either a second organ transplant or an expensive drug that might eradicate his hepatitis C without risking financial peril.”

:When she first enrolled in a Premera plan in 1995 after a di”vorce, she remembers that it cost only a few hundred dollars a month.:

“In 2000, she married Moody and added him to her policy. Though affordable at first, their premiums kept rising sharply. Their combined monthly premiums now total $1,746.”

Read the article to get the full flavor of their predicament. These are not the working poor or the uninsured.

Medicynical note: It is ironic that the goal of health insurers is to limit services to those who need health care most.

Forcing people onto the individual market (as opposed to providing group based rates) is the first step. Individuals have no leverage and are rated by their medical need. Premiums are routinely raised to exorbitant levels. As noted in the article people who need the most services are offered policies with unrealistically low limits and find their premiums raised to unaffordable levels (in the case cited over $1700/month).

Any new system should require community ratings. and a standardized coverage structure. both of which are anathema to the private insurance crowd or alternatively mandate a government sponsored program that will offer same.

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