Unlike many western countries, our country does not have a universal healthcare system insuring all citizens. While different countries healthcare systems may differ in both in quality and methods of delivery, our country uses private health insurers to sell and manage insurance. Healthcare providers who once were very independent are fast becoming parts of larger hospital healthcare delivery systems.
Unlike other countries, our system is very entrepreneurial which has resulted in our high costs courtesy of drug companies, insurance companies, large hospital systems, large medical groups and large imaging facilities. It is estimated by the American Medical Association that only 15% of the costs we experience are for doctors visits. Doctors are also spending a large sum of money to become doctors, which increase the income they need to be paid, since the cost of the student loans reduces their effective income for years to come.
When you reach 65 years old, you can apply for Medicare which is a government run system that works with private carriers to process claims. Medicare has the lowest cost of administration when compared to for profit insurance carriers.
With Obamacare, many of us saw marked increases in our healthcare premiums linked to both our older ages and the insurers that continually raised premiums on a yearly basis. They were telling us that costs were rising, however, it is estimated by the American Medical Association that the most recent increases were caused by higher prices, rather than increased utilization. In 2014, Consumer Reports looked at our system and compared it to others in the industrialized world, which showed that while we paid more, we were getting worse outcomes.
The high cost of insurance had led some of us to do drastic things to get covered. If you make too much money, you pay the full costs of insurance for you and your family however, if you are under the cap, you get a subsidy from the government toward the cost of your insurance. The government has a calculator to help you figure out if you are entitled to get help from the government, which can make a silver plan much more affordable than if you purchased it outside of the exchange.
The NY Times reported on a couple that did the math and realized that if they produced less income, and were under the income cap for Obamacare, the subsidy from the government would more than make up for the loss of income, making insurance much more affordable
The lengths that some will go to for affordable health insurance seems crazy, however, once you are over the cap for government assisted insurance coverage through Obamacare, the cost for health insurance increases markedly for individuals and small groups. As a country, being that we are as wealthy as we are, shouldn’t our infrastructure, our healthcare system and our educational systems be better and more affordable? Unfortunately, capitalism in healthcare continues to show why a more social system may be more cost effective. Our current system that is costing consumers dearly, while being designed to cost us more and is likely affecting our economy in ways that are unimaginable.
Check out the story here.
A Radical Move: Giving Up Income to Get Health Insurance
By RACHEL BLUTH DEC. 1, 2017
Anne Cornwell considered two drastic strategies in her quest to get affordable health insurance premiums last year for herself and her retired husband.
One was divorce. Another was taking a 30 percent pay cut. She chose the latter.
That maneuver slashed the premiums for the couple, who live in Chattanooga, Tenn., from exorbitant to economical. Instead of $2,100 a month — the amount she had been quoted for 2017 — their premiums are just $87 monthly, her lost income more than compensated for by qualifying for insurance subsides.
Ms. Cornwell’s solution — which was completely legal — reflects how a growing number of Americans are incorporating strategies for affording health insurance into financial planning, adapting money and salaries to yield better choices — much as people place money into 401(k) plans to save for retirement while reducing their taxable income.