THE BURDEN OF HEALTHCARE INSURANCE COMPANIES

Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan don’t use healthcare insurance companies (HICs) to ration healthcare. They can afford to cover everyone with the savings from eliminating the following:

  •  HIC sales forces, admin, advertising, profit and outrageous CEO bonuses

  • A very expensive amount of paperwork and rules to comply with from the menagerie of HICs. Hospitals and doctors pay for this and pass it on to us through our health insurance premiums, deductibles and copays. This is the worst part as single payer systems have only one set of rules and forms.

These savings are part of the reason why the single payer or nations without HICs spend half what the U.S. spends per person and they cover everyone. American HICs add 15-20% to our healthcare costs.This comes to $450-600 billion ($1300-1700 per person) per year in our $3 trillion per year healthcare spending.

The following chart shows how the U.S. compares to other nations. This is only what insurance companies spend for their own administration and  paperwork. The costs on the other side of the ledger to hospitals and doctors offices which are much more are not included on the chart.

Cost of Health Insurance Administration

What benefits do healthcare insurance companies provide?

Corporate healthcare insurance policies are a system for rationing healthcare. Those who can pay more get more. Those who can’t pay at all are allowed to suffer and die without care.

Shoppers are confused by the number of plans and how they work. There are networks of providers handled differently by HMOs and PPOs. With HMOs going out of network will not be covered unless there is an emergency. With PPOs you are allowed to go out of network, but often it is anybody’s guess what you will have pay for it. Preferred doctors and hospitals can drop out or be dropped from a network any time. If you go on vacation there could be coverage problems out of area.

Then of course there are the notorious pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies used to reject anyone with a pre-existing condition or exclude it from coverage. Obamacare outlaws that, but it can still be done indirectly. If an area has an above average incidence of pre-existing conditions or older residents (older age being a pre-existing condition that Obamacare allows.) they can drop out of the area. Those that stay in that area can charge what they want to everyone in that area.

The seriously ill hit maximums that the insurance companies will not pay beyond. Obamacare is supposed to eliminate this, but they wavered it for at least another year to 2015.

High deductilbe insurance policies can be unusable if the policyholder can’t pay the deductible up front. Bronze plans have $5,000 deductibles with out of pocket caps of $6,600 for a single person and $10,000 deductibles with $13,000 caps for a family of four. Too many can’t afford this. It also leads to bankruptcy. All deductibles become full again on the 1st of January. Those with chronic illnesses and illnesses that cover two years are burdened by this.

So why do we still have health care insurance companies?

There is a lack of awareness that we spend TWICE per person than the single payer systems in Canada, the UK, Western Europe and Japan, and they cover everyone.

Both parties feed on massive campaign contributions and give lobbyists all or most of what they want. Our sky high drug prices and Obamacare’s legal requirement to use health insurance companies are a result of this.

Even Medicare has been part taken over by Medicare Advantage.   Their armies of sales people, advertising and multiplicity of forms that hospitals and doctors have to deal with have added billions to the cost of Medicare and are draining the trust fund faster.

There is the Republican party itself. It has an ideology that is against government. It wants to continue with what got us where we are and are heading.  Although single payer is not government control, they are against it anyway. The fact that so many other countries have had it for decades is ignored. They promote misconceptions about government roles in these systems.

Replacing the Healthcare insurance companies and Obamacare with a single payer like the original Medicare is a necessary first step to start fixing our inferior overpriced healthcare. The public must become aware of this and vote for candidates who support it.

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