Health Care Insurers See The Writing On The Wall.

Posted: Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels:

My health insurance climbed $47 per monthly premium back in April and just today I recieved notice that my $25 co-pay plan is no longer being offered. So I have to pay more on a monthly basis, and a higher co-pay for each doctor visit. I don't even call them "health care" companies anymore. They are medical insurance aggrigators and the fact that they rushing to rake their customers over the coals is because that know that the public option is going to do exactly what it was meant to do.

They're trying to pad their profit, not because there is a rise in the cost of doing business that is being passed onto the customer, but rather because they're just trying to get every penny that they can before the one of these bills makes it to the presidents desk. This little plan by insusers is going to backfire. The public option was already gaining support despite claims by conservatives that it would lead to a government takeover of health care.

Medicare Advantage plans -- those are private plans for people also enrolled in regular Medicare -- are going up 25 percent. With costs rising like this, it is remarkable how many supporters the insurers have in Congress. Even the best of the companies are a pain to deal with. The for-profit insurance companies are a unique feature of the U.S. health care system. No other developed country has them, and their existence is a key reason Americans spend the highest percenatge of their national income on health care -- while leaving many people uninsured.

Healthcare outcomes are better in other developed countries than in the United States, while the costs are lower. None is perfect. They all face the problem of rising costs. But all other developed countries essentially provide care for everyone. For most working people under 65, we're Germany or France or Japan, - For Native Americans, military personnel and veterans, we're Britain, or Cuba ... For those over 65, we're Canada ... For the 45 million uninsured Americans, we're Cambodia, or rural India."

People in the latter group get care if they can pay the bill out of pocket. The United States, however, is like no other country because it "maintains so many separate systems for separate classes of people, and because it relies so heavily on for-profit private insurance plans to pay the bills. Some opponents of healthcare reform complain that the focus is on extending coverage to the uninsured, which will be expensive, rather than on ways to control costs. There's some truth to that, but extending coverage is the far more critical step. Other changes to control costs can come in turn.

On average, U.S. health insurance companies pay out in claims only about 80 percent of what they collect in premiums. The rest goes for marketing, underwriting and administration, with what's left, for profit. In France, everyone has a carte vitale, a green plastic card with a small memory chip. The card carries the full health history of each person, who treated him for what and what he was charged. Every time a doctor treats someone, the details are entered on the card and the update is sent to the national non-profit insurance fund which pays the doctor's bill, generally within a week, without any additional claim being filed.


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