Sunday, November 25, 2018

Health Insurance Companies think we're Stupid, and maybe they're right?

Medicare sign up time is now, and so I attended a seminar by one of the big insurers.

What was clear? Our U.S. health care system is really really bad, because it's designed by for-profit insurance companies and hospitals. I learned this at that recent "seminar." The insurance company representative stood in front of us describing a Rube Goldberg process of different copays and deductibles, procedures and limits, that no one in their right mind could begin to understand, and he knew it. That's why we needed their companies to help.

Even though I wasn't buying the sales pitch, the crowd of Medicare insurance buyers surprisingly just assumed this was all normal. Really?

I interrupted and pointed out that what he just described was the best argument yet for universal health care, where every doctor and hospital is your doctor and hospital with no copays or deductibles or surprise bills in the mail months later.

The crowd turned on me. Yes, believe it or not.

Arguing for Bad complicated Insurance? You bet: The current bad system has been around so long that everyone thinks what we have now is normal. In the end, one person asked why I was complaining, when Medicare itself was the ultimate government-run system? A good but ridiculous question.

I said Medicare is designed to force people to buy private "supplemental" insurance or Medicare Advantage policies run by private insurers, requiring another "extra premium" taken out of our shrinking Social Security check every month. That's after having already paid into Medicare all our lives. Crazy?

Takeaway? We like a complicated health care insurance system because we're used to it, and it gives us a sense of control, that we're making decisions and that it's our fault if things don't work out.

We've never had the discussion about wiping the slate clean. Imagining a society where employer-based insurance, individual market insurance, group-based insurance coops, Medicare, Medicaid, and self-insurance would just...disappear. No bills, no surprises, no medical bankruptcies, and no networks. Just lots of time to live our lives to their fullest and concentrating on what really matters, our families, whether children or aging parents.

The Challenge: Everybody gets mailers inviting them to insurance presentations and even a free meal. Go sometime and watch in stunned amazement how convoluted and insane their rules and regulations are, policies they say we need. You'll quickly understand how corporate numbers crunchers and ghoulish CEO's have covered every inch of greed and profit from the sick or dying. The question you have to ask yourself; do you have the stomach for it?

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