Check out this quote I saw on CNN this morning (story: Crush of cancer, medical bills snares family):
“Health insurance premiums track directly with the underlying cost of medical care,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents 1,300 health insurance carriers in the United States. “As the cost of providing care increases, premiums increase accordingly.”
My first thought was THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE LIE. Okay, now that I”ve settled down, it is not a lie. It is the truth. A warped truth. Let me share my thoughts.
Everyone knows that the spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans is going to, indeed HAS TO, talk about things in a light that is positive for America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Understand that that is some kind of organization (association?) that represents insurance carriers. Lots of them.
Don’t read it wrong – this is not an organization for for AMERCIANS, it is an organization for the insurance carriers. These are the same carriers who are essentially screwing hundreds of thousands of Americans, like the family in the CNN article I got it from.
Got that? Okay, had to get that straightened out, lest we think America’s Health Insurance Plans are the good guys.
Having said that, let’s go back to the quote. He says “health insurance premiums track directly with the … cost of medical care.”
That was what I thought the lie was. Based on my summer, with a birth and a surgery, I could not believe the overhead and price inflation caused by insurance companies. You can read about it on my JibberJobber blog, but understand that the hospital bills for the birth of my kid were about 60% discounted because we were self-pay, and we paid up front.
In other words, because we bypassed the health insurance system we were able to avoid 60% of the cost. Unbelievable.
This alone helped me understand why medical costs are so high. Not because of the fancy/expensive GE equipment, not because of the Dr.’s Porsche collection, but because the health insurance system is sooooo screwed up.
Let’s go back to the statement: “health insurance premiums track directly…” Okay, now I realize this is not a lie. This is 100% accurate.
Let’s change the sentence and add one concept:
“health insurance premiums track directly, with a factor, …”
In other words, they have to put their profit in there. Unfortunately, we the people have to pay for the inefficiencies. Ask anyone who is involved in medical billing, or office admin, in healthcare and you can get an earful of such inefficiencies.
So perhaps the cost of health care is this:
medical costs (Dr, hospital, supplies, etc.) * (Insurance company Profit + percentage of gross inefficiencies introduced by insurance model)
Thanks for the great quote Mr. Spokesperson. I wish, instead of defending your constituents lame position, you could help work on fixing the inefficiencies before the gov’t does it for you.
I’d really like for insurance companies to clean themselves up. We’re good with you making a profit… no problem there. But Oh My Flipping Gosh (OMFG), do you have to add so much cost to my medical procedures? Seriously – 60% of the cost of my wife’s hospital stay?
That. Seems. Criminal.
I wager that health insurance companies won’t be able to fix it (except the rogue ones, the small, nimble ones, hopefully).
I hope that Obama can move enough things forward so this gets fixed (and not replaced with another nightmare of a problem).
Otherwise, my future major medical expenses will be taken care of outside of the United States. Not because I want to, but because “the system” prevents me, and millions of others, from getting appropriate health care.