Most Americans use health insurance to subsidize medical care - though it should be used for catastrophic expenses.
A person buys health insurance to protect against large and unexpected medical expenses. Health insurance should finance expensive medical services so the patient is not put through overwhelming financial costs.
AdvertisementFor the past decade, the American citizens have come to the conclusion that their health insurance will cover all medical care whether routine or an emergency. Due to this expectation health care stands out as entirely different from other types of insurance.
A person would not expect his automobile insurance to pay for gasoline nor would he expect his homeowner insurance to pay for painting his house. This is the reason for escalating health care insurance. v When both patients and doctors feel their insurance should pay for routine services, they have reached a point of including costly health care services which the patient may not require. Healthcare plays a very crucial role and also is important to help people who cannot afford even the basic and routine medical expenses.
One attractive option for insuring those in need - would be to expand the use of high-deductible health plans in combination with health savings accounts. This will find a cost-effective path for insuring against catastrophic medical expenses while also helping individuals settle the costs of routine medical care.
Coverage like this will keep people from losing money and a life time of assets which can result in financial bankruptcy due to unpaid hospital bills.
Such coverage means less-costly insurance policies, since they cover only major expenses. The government is also saved the expense of small claims. With high deductibles the medical care becomes more visible and transparent.
Combining high-deductible insurance with health savings accounts gives a way to help individuals defray the costs of necessary, but routine, medical expenses. Such savings accounts allow individuals to set aside money tax-free to purchase immediate or future medical care. High deductible insurance plans along with Health savings accounts can show advances in Medicaid too. States could deposit Medicaid funds to the low income individual's account. These funds would be used for routine care and high deductible health care covers could be bought with these. Funds leftover would accumulate in the account for future use when actually needed.
Health savings accounts have grown rapidly in the last 10 years, and for good reason. They should now be made available to Medicare recipients as well. This growth could be enhanced and the growth in healthcare costs slowed if the accounts were made available to the poor and the elderly.
The Affordable Health Care is trying to control costs by cutting wages and prices - this will lead to loss of quality and reduced number of workers. Americans should realize the actual need is to increase the number of healthcare workers. To increase access to primary care the number of nurse practitioners and physician assistants along with physicians need to be available at clinics to provide healthcare at lower costs. These private sector clinics can provide healthcare at lower costs especially for preventive care such as flu shots, monitoring of blood pressure and basic tests. Major hospitals are also beginning to partner with them. Pharmacies and health centers should be expanded and transformed into clinics with broader facilities.
Increasing competition among insurance companies is another reform which is necessary. At present insurance cannot be sold across states. Insurance is the key to protecting individuals and families from the risk of financial devastation. The first essential step in reforming the health system is to recognize what insurance is and what it is not. Along with that is the proper delivery of the healthcare system will be a great improvement.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
George P. Shultz, Scott W. Atlas and John F. Cogan, January 2014
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