Well, the good news is that people are talking about health care. Just look at what is happening at the Town Hall meetings. The bad news is, are people so busy talking that no one is listening?
In my previous blog I spoke of portability. COBRA (consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act) is not the answer. Who can afford those premiums anyway? Lets focus on the man or woman who has worked a majority of their life and had health insurance through an employer. Then through a chain of events they lose their employer sponsored group medical benefits. A family premium on COBRA can easily run $1,000.00 per month and more.
If this individual has a pre- existing medical condition, he will be hard pressed to find an affordable alternative that will cover the pre- existing medical condition.
So lets expound upon portability and the value of taking your coverage with you.
I've stated before that we all should have individual coverage that is portable. If you can get coverage through the purchasing power of your employer so be it. However, employers and employees need new options for cost containment and individual freedom of choice.
Currently employers have few options to install cost containment practices. Employees have few options as to the benefits purchased. Employees don't have the option to purchase less costly and often times more appropriate benefits for their family.
Health insurance benefits should be a personal choice and portable. Each employee should be free to chose a plan that would remain with that employee even in the event of a job change.
The solution would be for the employer to pay for the policy of each employee who wants coverage and then deduct the premium from the employees wages.
Some major advantages would be;
1. The rising health care costs would no longer be a problem for employers since health insurance premiums would be a substitute for wages.
2. Employees would have opportunities to choose lower cost policies and higher take home pay.
3. Employees would have the opportunity to select insurance benefits tailored to their families needs.
4. Employees retain the tax advantages of the current system but avoid the waste that is inherent in the same exact benefit structure for all.
5. Employees would be able to continue coverage at fair prices even if they quit work or switch jobs.
For additional information on this idea I highly recommend the book, "Patient Power" by, John Goodman