Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Next Financial Crisis Is Already Here! John Lewis 99% Profits CRASH - Retail Sector Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Why Is Apple Giving This Tiny Stock A $900 Million Opportunity? - James Burgess
3.Gold Price Trend Analysis - - Nadeem_Walayatt
4.The Beginning of the End of the Dollar - Richard_Mills
5.Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Hindenburg Omen & Consumer Confidence: More Signs of Stock Market Trouble in 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
7.Precious Metals Sector: It’s 2013 All Over Again - P_Radomski_CFA
8.Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk - Ellen_Brown
9.Gold Stocks Forced Capitulation - Zeal_LLC
10.The Post Bubble Market Contraction Thesis Receives Validation - Plunger
Last 7 days
2019’s Hottest Commodity Is About To Explode - 15th Oct 18
Keep A Proper Perspective About Stock Market Recent Move - 15th Oct 18
Is the Stocks Bull Dead? - 15th Oct 18
Stock Market Bottoms are a Process - 15th Oct 18
Fed is Doing More Than Just Raising Rates - 14th Oct 18
Stock Markets Last Cheap Sector - Gold - 14th Oct 18
Next Points for Crude Oil Bears - 13th Oct 18
Stock Market Crash: Time to Buy Stocks? - 12th Oct 18
Sheffield Best Secondary School Clusters for 2018-19 Place Applications - 12th Oct 18
Trump’s Tariffs Echo US Trade Policy That Led to the Great Depression - 12th Oct 18
US Dollar Engulfing Bearish Pattern Warns Of Dollar Weakness - 12th Oct 18
Stock Market Storm Crash, Dow Plunges to Trend Forecast! - 12th Oct 18
SP500 Stock Market Sell Off Well Forecast by President Trump - 11th Oct 18
USD and US Tr. Yields Retreat, GBP Gains on Brexit-deal Report - 11th Oct 18
Loss Of Yield Curve "Shock Absorber" Could Mean A Rough Ride Ahead For Markets & Housing - 11th Oct 18
Just How Bearish is the Stock Market’s Breadth? - 11th Oct 18
Here’s Why Gold Stocks, Gold, and Silver Are Great Buys Now - 10th Oct 18
Russian Ruble Technical Chart Analysis and Forecast - 10th Oct 18
Society Trends To Keep in Mind in the USA - 10th Oct 18
[eBook] How to Identify Turning Points in the Market - 10th Oct 18
Euro Vulnerable as Slowing Growth Reveals Underlying Issues - 9th Oct 18
Construction Companies to Watch For in 2019 - 9th Oct 18
ECB Meeting Minutes and US Inflation Data in Focus - 9th Oct 18
Interest Rate Shock-Time to Find Out Who has been Swimming Naked - 9th Oct 18
Unintended Consequences of Expanding Sheffield's Best Ranking State Secondary Schools - 9th Oct 18
Crude Oil Price Trend Forecast 2018 Update - 9th Oct 18
Inflation Is Starting To Heat Up - 8th Oct 18
Stock Market Seasonal Influence at Work - 8th Oct 18
Barrick Randgold Deal Breathes New Life into Gold - 8th Oct 18
Stock Market Sell Off, Dollar Rally Expected, Now What? - 8th Oct 18
The Chartology of Gold and Silver - 8th Oct 18
The Income for Life Playbook - 8th Oct 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Trading Any Market

Tackling Higher US Healthcare Costs

Personal_Finance / Healthcare Sector May 25, 2017 - 06:42 PM GMT

By: Rodney_Johnson

Personal_Finance In 2015, I thought my healthcare renewal statement was wrong.

The premium for my shrinking family of three (two adults and one child) was increasing by more than 30%, to $1,454 per month. My earnings place me out of the subsidy bracket, so these are real dollars out of our budget.

There were plenty of insurance companies to choose from. Shrinking availability was not a problem. It was just breathtakingly expensive.


Or so I thought.

In 2016, my premium jumped to $1,733 per month.

The galling part is that I had no control. I’d kept tabs for years. The insurance companies had never paid total reimbursements anywhere close to the premiums we’d paid, and our deductibles climbed even as our premiums shot higher.

This is not how insurance is supposed to work.

Insurance is a hedge against something unexpected happening.

The current system is glorified cost-sharing with a lot of middlemen.

With true insurance, I’d pay for small or ordinary medical costs like a broken arm or asthma treatments, and I’d pay for scheduled surgeries with savings or a payment plan. But big things, like car accidents or cancer, would be covered.

That sort of coverage isn’t possible today. Even if the proposed American Health Care Act allows it, I’m not sure how many insurance companies would offer such stripped down service.

I don’t claim to know how to fix the national problem.

Caring for everyone as we age will be expensive, but no one (including me) wants to ration care or tell doctors they simply earn too much compared to their peers in other countries.

But that doesn’t mean I sat still when I got my premium renewal notice last year.

I searched for alternatives… and I found them.

The Affordable Care Act includes a carve-out for health-sharing arrangements that existed before 2000. These organizations tend to have a religious component and work like mutual benefit societies from a bygone era.

I investigated several before choosing Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM, www.chministries.org). There’s also Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries, among others. Each one operates a bit differently, which is why I chose CHM. But they each have the same basic principles.

I contribute $150 each month per person, or $450. That’s $1,283 less than my cost would have been in the traditional market. It adds up to $15,396 per year.

The organizations ask that you affirm your faith, and that you live a responsible life. It’s not that you need to live a life of austerity or denial. You can still have one too many at the local barbeque from time to time, or ski the black diamond runs.

What you can’t do is expect your fellow members to pay for things outside the bounds. If you have an accident while driving under the influence, it’s not covered. If you get addicted to illegal drugs, it’s not covered.

In short, these organizations give you the opportunity to exchange responsible behavior for lower-cost healthcare.

This is not insurance. It’s health cost sharing. It sounds like semantics, but once you get into the details the difference becomes clear. Even though CHM mailed me a card, there’s nothing to show a doctor or hospital.

When we visit the doctor, we say one thing: “Self-insured.”

Last fall, while away at college, my daughter went to the hospital. She was short of breath due to an allergic reaction. She called from the waiting room. I told her to do everything necessary to get the care she needed, and, when it came time to settle up, to tell them she’s self-insured and to give them my contact information.

She left without paying a nickel, and then I waited for the bill.

Five weeks later, I received her statement. The hospital had reduced her bill by 71%.

The CHM gold plan we have covers costs outside of tests and transportation, with a $500 deductible per condition. We pay for our routine doctor visits.

The plan includes a prescription drug benefit, but I’ve found that GoodRx, a free app that anyone can use, is better. I recently filled a prescription that would have been $39, but GoodRx directed me to a large chain grocery store where my coupon provided by them brought the cost down to $8.

Clearly this approach won’t work for everyone. I’d imagine there are pitfalls to these programs that will come up as time goes on. But, so far, it seems to be working just like insurance used to work.

And the basic tenets seem solid enough to help all of us achieve lower costs.

As a consumer, I’m asked to be responsible for my health, to do my part to keep my costs down, and I ask for the best price a vendor has to offer when services are rendered. In return, my health cost sharing premium stays in the reasonable range. That seems like a fair trade.

I’ve had two friends sign up for similar programs in the past six months, as they ran into the same astronomical costs that I did. I imagine these organizations will attract many more users in the months and years ahead as costs continue marching higher.

If you end up looking into these programs for yourself, check them all out to find the best fit. And if CHM ends up the top choice, tell them I mentioned it… because they also have a referral program.

Rodney

Follow me on Twitter ;@RJHSDent

By Rodney Johnson, Senior Editor of Economy & Markets

http://economyandmarkets.com

Copyright © 2017 Rodney Johnson - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Rodney Johnson Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules