Uncoupling Health Insurance and Employment

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Adam's Apple, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Shopping for Healthcare
    By Jeff Jacoby for The Boston Globe
    June 19, 2005

    Prices are advertised everywhere. From newspapers to billboards to websites, we are forever being told how much things cost. Want to buy contact lenses? A cruise to Alaska? A pedicure? The price of almost any product or service is readily available, and vendors vie for business by keeping their prices competitive.

    But not when it comes to healthcare. How much does your local hospital charge to deliver a baby? Which blood pressure drugs are the most affordable? What is the going rate for a checkup?

    Most of us couldn't begin to answer such questions. Hospitals and physicians rarely advertise their rates because patients rarely care to learn them. For the majority of Americans under age 65, medical bills are something insurance companies take care of. Few patients have any incentive to focus on price, so few healthcare providers have any incentive to compete on price. Result: ever-higher healthcare costs, leading to ever-higher insurance costs.

    It may seem natural to rely on insurance to pay for ordinary health needs, but it isn't. After all, we don't use auto insurance for tuneups or tires. Homeowners insurance doesn't cover paint jobs or new applicances. Those kinds of costs we pay out of pocket, which is why we do things like get written estimates or check Consumer Reports. When we're footing the bill, price and value matter.

    for full article:
    www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/06/19/shopping.....
     
  2. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Great stub (the link didn't work). There are a few doctors who are starting to accept cash for routine services (immunizations, physicals/checkups, etc.). But the ability to pay cash when needed, and the ability to buy reasonably priced health insurance, will only come when the government quits regulating with such a heavy hand.
     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Don't know why the link isn't working. The article can be read by going to www.boston.com and doing a search for Jeff Jacoby. Should be first article that pops up.
     
  4. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Might be my Internet Nazis.
     
  5. archangel
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    archangel Guest

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    I truly believe the problem can be found with the costs hospitals charge for service....when I was in the hospital for a work related injury...the surgeon charged some $7200.00 for the neurosurgery(fair for his expertise) The hospital charged $60,000.00 for a eight day stay...lousy food,room and service..hell they charge $22.00 for two tylenol.. and who knows how much for real pain killers...all they do is poke ya 24/7 making one miserable...damn one could get a penthouse in the finest hotel in the country for these rates..

    Another $120,000.00 was charged for the stay in the rehab hospital for the additional eight weeks...therapy was okay...not great,food and room was fair..but nothing to write home about! They also charged ridiculous amounts for asprin,tylenol and bandages and dressings...so in my humble opinion I say the hospitals are the cause of insurance rates...and the lack of insurance for a great number of people... :bs1:
     
  6. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    We have heard about some of those expensive hospital stays. It's like you indicated--they do charge penthouse rates and nail you for the incidentals.

    I think there should be a limit imposed on all types of medical costs. Medical personnel should be awarded fairly for the services they perform, but these fees should also be fair to the patients. It's the way things should be done to keep greed from entering into the picture, but it will never happen in the U.S.
     
  7. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    The reason that hospitals charge exorbiant rates is because customers don't pay, insurance companies do. If customers paid, rates would fall drastically because, frankly, we wouldn't stand for it.

    As long as insurance companies pay for services, hospitals will continue to charge these ridiculous rates. But if you put limits on what hospitals can charge, hospitals will respond by decreasing services - usually to the people who need them most.

    If, on the other hand, you 1) deregulate the medical industry, allowing people to pay cash, and 2) deregulate the health insurance industry, getting rid of mandatory insurance coverage and allowing the market to dictate what medical insurance is worth, you would defeat the ever-escalating spiral of health care costs.
     
  8. archangel
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    archangel Guest

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    why don't the insurance companies put their foot down...I like the concept of medical insurance...do you really think you could pay cash for treatment...not logical jeff...I rarely go to the doctors or hospitals for that matter...but when a emergency takes one by surprise...well insurance is great...just like car insurance! :(
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I've only been glancing at this thread. I'll take a guess though, insurance is bad for everyday occurances. I agree.

    My take:

    For 'routine' visits, IE., physicals, well baby check ups, innoculations, initial 'scare' visits-such as lump, funny mole, etc., the best thing is to pay upfront. No insurance.

    Insurance should kick in for: hospitalization, chemo, surgery, etc.

    Most doctors fees are as high as they are due to paperwork. Eliminate all the insurance goobledeegook and they will charge a reasonable profit. Better care too I'd bet.
     
  10. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    archangel, Kathianne just typed about what I was going to type.

    Insurance companies will pay whatever the hospitals want... they just pass the costs on to the patients. However, to maximize profits, insurance companies and HMOs will shop around, which is why you have preferred providers.
     

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