Time's Karen Tumulty has a great piece up today about her family's experience with the health insurance industry. Go read it.
Some key points:
Some key points:
- Insurance companies are evil. This is a pretty classic case of a company retroactively canceling a policy because the policy holder developed an expensive condition. Health care reform, with guaranteed issue and community rating will go a long way towards restraining the bad behavior of the insurers.
- Underinsurance is as serious a problem as uninsurance. This patient did the right thing (as far as he knew) -- he paid for private insurance, high-deductible, out of his own pocket. It turns out that he bought the wrong policy for a number of reasons. Even if Assurant had not canceled his policy, when he hit his next renewal date, he would have been freshly underwritten with his new chronic condition, and the cost of renewing the policy would have been well beyond his means, or would have been excluded as a pre-existing condition.
- Texas is not a state to live in if you are poor and sick. 25% of the population is uninsured and Medicaid only covers those making less than 21% of the poverty line! Holy crap. So much for compassionate conservatives.
- Preventative care saves both lives and money. This is a great case study in which a patient may wind up falling out of the work force, hurting the economy and becoming a ward of the state, because of his chronic disease. Not knowing his diagnosis, it's impossible to say that in this case preventative care would have kept stage 1 or 2 chronic kidney disease from progressing to stage 3 or 4, but across all comers it is certain that significant numbers of patients will benefit.
- The uninsured really get screwed with health care costs, when they have to pay the gross charges instead of the negotiated rates given to insured patients and medicare patients. Of course, most don't pay, but it adds to their economic burden anyway and accelerates the slide towards bankruptcy.
- Half of bankrupties are in part due to medical costs.