The $5,000 health insurance question

I am a self-employed dog who buys his own health insurance. I’ve been listening to all these pundits and political candidates talking about government “getting out of the way” so individuals can buy their own health insurance. “Let the free market do it’s thing” is the cry from most of them.

I have come to the very firm conclusion that those who advocate most strongly for individuals buying their own plan have never actually had to buy health insurance for themselves or their family. If they had, they would be too aghast and shocked to get any punditry out.

Here are the “facts” of getting your own health insurance:

Free Market Economy
If there is a big pot of money out there to get for the asking, health insurance companies will belly up to the bar and stick their snouts in it. If every American family was given $5,000 to buy their own health insurance, that same insurance will now be $5,000 more expensive to get. They really don’t want to sell individual plans because there is no economy of scale. Individuals call the insurance office whereas employer-based plans get calls get pushed to the company HR department.

Your BMI will never be good enough
Neither will your lifestyle, health history or FICO Score. In Ohio, if you have driven or ridden on a 2-wheel motorized vehicle in the past 24 months or have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, your premiums are automatically adjusted 20% higher. Left to its own devices, health insurance companies will only insure healthy, low-risk people who can afford to pay the premiums. Insurance companies are pro-profit organizations whose only goal is to collect more in premiums than they pay out in claims.

What you NEED insurance for, they won’t cover
Really, don’t get cancer or a heart-attack. Don’t have a genetic disease or any respiratory condition. All of these will be excluded from coverage. You can’t even buy coverage for a pre-existing condition; nobody will sell it to you for any price.

Your rates will go up regardless of activity
Year to year, your rates will go up about 12%-30% each year if you don’t use the plan; more if you do. You are forced to shop deals every year like cell phone plans. Every company will entice new buyers (well, the healthy ones) into a policy while jacking up the rates on their existing customers. I don’t know why they do this as it makes more sense that costs would be lower to care for customers you have than to find and convince customers you don’t.

So, McCain and Palin, the $5,000 for Americans to buy their own insurance is just crap and campaign talk. Just for grins, I went out to a few places and priced out Palin’s family, not mentioning the minor-aged pregnancy and the Down’s syndrome child. For a PPO plan with a $2,500 deductible and 20% co-pay plans were at $800-$1,106 a month, depending on whether you wanted a Blue Cross class or a no-name brand. That is $9,600-$13,272 a year NOT including the doctor visit costs or the deductible of $2,500 you will pay before benefits kick in. Forget about the no-deductible plans; they just don’t have them.

$5,000 isn’t so much money any more. In fact, it is almost nothing when buying health insurance.

Helping Americans with health insurance costs is not the answer. Helping Americans get health care that they need is. The difference is not inconsequential. When the Federal Government makes assistance money available to help pay for things like drugs, education and health care, the only thing that happens is the cost of these things goes up.

We should all understand that public health, education and welfare affects us all. When individuals are increasingly delaying medical care because they can’t afford to go to the doctor, eventually we all pay in higher public health costs. The same goes for education, but that is an entirely different post.

When we agree that what affects me affects you, we will start moving forward together as a healthy nation with a strong infrastructure. The richest country in the world should not have its citizens wondering how close to bankruptcy a heart attack or accident will bring them.

7 Replies to “The $5,000 health insurance question”

  1. “In Ohio, if you have driven or ridden on a 2-wheel motorized vehicle in the past 24 months or have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, your premiums are automatically adjusted 20% higher. ”

    Actually, this is true with Golden Rule, but Anthem and Medical Mutual will not increase the rate.

  2. @Ohio The fact that it is true at all with ANY insurance company should be disturbing. I understand mitigating exposure, but the fact that insurance companies can control a population by covering or not covering popular behaviors should cause concern. The point, however, is that the $5,000 figure was seemingly pulled out of some anatomical part without any real analysis of what is going on with the “Main Street Residents.”

  3. @Rufus, riding a motorcycle has been proven to have triple the amount of injury related issues as someone who doesn’t. Insurance companies insure against risk and if you are a higher risk, shouldn’t you have to pay more than someone who doesn’t take that risk?

  4. Ah, yes, I should. But against my AUTO policy, not my health insurance policy. If there are issues with subrogation, that is their issue to resolve, not mine.

  5. And recession is another ghastly fact of the individual health insurance market, good luck if you forget to list a medication or a sprain. The system is more then fundamentally flawed, it is broken entirely.

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