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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Good Reading on Insurance Reform

The Wall Street Journal does what most local papers and other national media outlet's haven't been concerning President Obama's newest phrase "Health Insurance Reform"; they point out the facts, in two different editorials.

The first "The Truth About Health Insurance" points out something I did a few days ago, the reforms wanted by the administration won't save you money, they'll just drive your insurer out of business and cost you MORE!

They point out that New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts all have both guaranteed issue insurance laws (you have to sell a policy to anyone, even with pre-existing conditions) and Community Based Ratings (can't use a pre-existing condition to set premiums). Not surprisingly, those are the three most expensive states to by individual health insurance in. In fact, rates are two to three times higher than the rest of the country.

Evidently "fairness" only works one way in those states. It's more fair to require no wait insurance for the folks who get sick and need it now. Unfortunately the rest of the insured end up paying for them to be covered.

The second piece you should read is by John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods. They've reformed their insurance program, and save both the company and employees money. "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare" lays out how they've done it, and why even their Canadian and British employees, with goverment provided health care want into the system.

The biggest reform they enacted? They turned employees into true consumers of health care. They actually shop around for services and treatments instead of just going to whatever doctor or clinic someone recommends.

They use a high deductible ($2500) policy paid for by the company and a Health Savings Acount, with another $1800 from company. The HSA rolls over each year, so if it's not spent, they don't lose the cash, and can save for a catastrophic event.

What they've found is the employees don't use the HSA money up every year to cover the deductibles, they instead do spend out of pocket for smaller expenses, and end up shopping and saving themselves money.

Mackey has some other great ideas on how to actually bend the curve down, as the President would like to do, but the CBO has pointed out, ObamaCare won't. Check out his ideas.

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