Catastrophic health insurance could be a great solution for those wishing to obtain cheaper health insurance, but even with its low prices, it may still be too expensive for some. Many are turning to the belief that the government should provide individuals with total health care benefits or at least catastrophic health insurance, while others are clinging to their employee benefits. Is there a middle ground for these two arguments?
The Problem With Catastrophic Health Insurance
The Cost of Healthcare (Catastrophic Health Insurance and Others)
The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research Educational Trust performed a survey in 2009 to determine the average cost of health insurance. It was determined the average cost of insurance offered by employers was just a little over $13,000 a year. For many families, this five percent increase in health insurance cost between 2008 and 2009 was not sufficiently covered by the three percent increase in pay received during this time period.
Each year, the cost of healthcare rises, and the insurance companies make changes in their costs to reflect it. With so many workers without employment or working part-time jobs without insurance, this increase in cost can take a huge chunk out of their pocket books. As a result, many choose to go without insurance and face the consequences of having to pay out of pocket for an emergency. Although catastrophic health insurance is an option, some can’t even afford that.
A Dysfunctional Health Care System
The development of health insurance offered by employers first began in World War II. It was designed to attract workers to places of employment without having to raise pay. This worked to both increase the number of individuals working and to control inflation. After World War II was over, the status of insurance changed and became a fringe benefit that was expected to be tied to jobs. Insurance providers and medical facilities worked out payment agreements to allow the insurance to work successfully.
These days, the cost of insurance and healthcare is sky high, but those with insurance, even catastrophic health insurance, rarely look into the actual cost of their procedures. Medical care providers are increasing the number of tests a patient has to pay for expensive medical equipment and avoid malpractice suits.
The Middle Ground
It seems that if individuals were to obtain health savings accounts (HSAs), either individually or through employers, and the government provided catastrophic health insurance for individuals who need it, this type of behavior might change. Medical providers would not be so intent on assigning needless tests to pay for equipment and insurance might change from a fringe benefit of the workplace to simply a necessary and supplied asset for medical care. Bottom line? Catastrophic health insurance is a good start, but we need a method of cost regulation.
Options for Catastrophic Health Insurance
A health savings plan can be set up by an individual and pre-tax dollars can be deposited into it. It can be used for medical purposes when needed. The use of this money would force individuals to consider the cost of their healthcare and take a role in the type of health care they need. While not every medical situation would allow for a debate on what tests are really needed for a diagnosis, some medical problems would allow for it. For real emergencies, the catastrophic health insurance would be able to cover any tests, surgeries, or medical provisions needed.
While the solution may not be perfect, the affects of an HSA and government provided catastrophic health insurance could work to assist those who need help paying for emergency health care.
How do you feel about current health care options? Is catastrophic health insurance right for you?