Health care is the big item on the White House agenda as of late. It's the hot topic we knew they were going to tackle ASAP and if they get their way, increases the power and influence of government in all of our lives. In my March 31, 2009 post I discussed a need for health care to move away from the current insurance system. This would take providers developing and alternative to working with insurance companies in much the same way Walmart has lead the way for low prices on generic drugs.
On Tuesday July 7, I found this article on msnbc.com. Take some time to read it as it is a great example of where I think health care should go.
Basically it discusses a Seattle Clinic that was started by doctors tired of dealing with insurance companies. The attract new doctors by offering stock options. They offer care to patients from $39-$119 a month depending on age and level of insurance. No one is rejected for preexisting conditions. It also covers round the clock unrestricted care and 30-minute appointments
It doesn't cover catastrophic care, but the article reports that a 30 year old person could expect to pay $133 per month for such coverage. Obviously that goes up with age.
Here's the thing, my employer sponsored premium is $350/month. They cover that but I have to pay deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays. Every time I go to the doctor I pay $20 or $30 for a specialist. Just think, if my employer didn't have to pay $350 for my insurance and instead gave me a $350 raise to go out and buy my own insurance, the least I could pay anywhere from $172 - $252 a month for coverage. This leaves me an extra $100/month plus any of my copays and coinsurance to cover any medication I might need on occasion, or lab work that I usually have only once a year, or anything else that might not be covered in the services offered by their clinic.
This is a link to the clinic's services that they offer.
And while they don't offer all specialty services, they do offer the basic preventative care and disease management which is what most people are needing. They are an example of how specialty care providers could get together and offer their specialty services refusing to work with insurance. Prenatal and maternity care come to mind. Although I know from a previous job that many doctors and providers already have reduced rates for those paying cash for these services. But people always think they need insurance. Radiology groups could refuse to deal with insurance which greatly reduces the staff they need to run the business office, which reduces the costs to you the patient. I'm sure if they put their heads together they could come up with even more ways to reduce your costs, and to encourage people to use their services every once in awhile to help reduce costs over time.
In reality, insurance is just a method of prepaying for services you will use. But we have become so accustomed to our employers providing us insurance or the government doing these things for us that we don't want the responsibility of saving that $200-$300/month just for health care expenses. Trust me people you don't want the government in charge of your health care. If you want health care bad enough, if it becomes a priority to you, you will pay for it. And if you will pay for it, a doctor will see you and treat you. It just hasn't become a priority for most people and they are spending the money elsewhere and are under the impression that they can't afford quality coverage. The reality is they don't want to pay for it so the next step is to demand the government find a solution so they don't have to pay for it. They are just going to take it out of your check each month before you get paid.
What do you all think of what this clinic is doing? They are saving money on the office staff it would required to bill insurance companies, that also have to employ people to process your claims. The providers and the insurance companies are in the business of making money so who do you think ultimately pays for these 2 sets of people to process your claims? They go into the cost of health care provided to you. You pay for it. Don't kid yourself and say your company pays for it or the government pays for it. You're salary is probably a lot less over time because your benefits fall into your compensation package, and you pay taxes to the government to pay for everyone on government insurance. Unless the government is supporting you.