Keep the health insurance you love. But first, some questions

The healthcare debate is entering its 25th year, and one thing that confounds me is the politician who’ll stand up on stage and promise that you’ll be able to keep the healthcare you love, or that you’ll still have freedom of choice in healthcare. I imagine this is the same sort of politician who would likely struggle at a gas pump or, if presented with the necessary ingredients for a sandwich, would take 30 minutes to complete the job. But what confounds me most is the number of people out here in the real world, who deal with actual health plans on a regular basis, who applaud the idea of keeping the insurance you love.

So some questions.

  • Do you have health insurance?
  • Did you choose your health insurance provider?
  • Did your employer choose your health insurance provider, giving you no say in the matter?
  • What would happen if you chose to opt out of your employer-provided healthcare plan?
  • Did your employer offer you a range of plans? Is the top one fairly decent and, while not perfect, will cover most things with what passes for minimal hassle when dealing with health care? Does that one cost an arm and a leg? Is the bottom one a low-cost, high-deductible plan that won’t break the bank but is really only suitable for a single person who goes to the doctor once every two years?
  • Has your employer dropped the ability to choose your plan and now only offers the low-cost, high deductible option?
  • Could you buy a used car for the price of that deductible?
  • Does adding a family member exponentially increase the cost of that plan and the deductible?

A few more questions

  • Does your employer actually pay for your healthcare?
  • If so, do you work for the government or some other tax-payer funded entity?
  • Or do you have to contribute money every pay period to pay for your “employer-provided” health insurance?
  • Has the amount you’re required to pay crept up steadily every year?
  • Do you consider a set amount of money taken out of your check every pay period a tax?
  • How much is your own private healthcare “tax” every month?
  • Do you have to pay for a separate vision plan?
  • Do you have to pay for a separate dental plan?
  • Are you ever suspicious that maybe your employer isn’t paying a whole hell of a lot?

Some final questions to wrap things up

  • Is your insurance plan accepted by all the doctors and medical service providers in your area?
  • Does your insurance company make sure costs are reasonable and the pricing transparent and easy to understand?
  • Does it make getting health services simple and efficient?
  • Can you just walk into a doctor’s office, or do you have to wait until an appointment opens up?
  • What are the copays like?
  • Does your plan cover prescription medication?
  • After meeting the deductible, is it smooth sailing from then on out?
  • When it comes time to pay a medical bill, does the insurance company make it easy to understand what you’re paying for and why?
  • How many phone calls on average does it take to settle a standard medical bill?
  • How many phone calls, emails, and faxes(!) does it take to settle a dispute with a health service provide?
  • Do you sometimes ignore the first three bills sent from a doctor’s office, hoping the insurance company will communicate that it paid its share and then you can figure it out?
  • Have you ever cried while trying to figure this all out?
  • Have you ever put off medical visits because the thought of dealing with your health insurance company just made you want to crawl under the bed and die?

One last question before you go

  • Do you love your health insurance?

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