Health insurance — the on-going saga

I bought medication at Walgreen’s earlier this week, and it cost me just $10 dollars. It was my first prescription purchase with a health insurance card in four years, and I felt a little guilty about it. Going that long without health insurance (as regular readers know) was a profoundly eye-opening experience about the state of health care in this country, and I’m become increasingly liberal on this issue.

During that time, every cash experience with a health care provider resulted in a 30 percent discount. That’s 30 percent! Does it really cost the provider 30-cents on the dollar for 3rd-party insurance? What would happen if you and your employer split the cash cost, and you had insurance only for catastrophic events? Given my experience, everybody would save money — perhaps even the insurance company. That $70 office visit would cost you $24.50.

You might not run to the doctor for every ailment, but would that be so bad?

The downside might be that you’d avoid expensive tests, but surely there’s a way we can figure that out.

With the exception of my breast surgery last year, I really didn’t pay much more for health care than I would have in paying a premium for health insurance plus deductables, and this strikes me as odd. And what really concerns me is the millions of other Americans who are permanently locked into the position I was in, where one serious medical event can ruin your financial position, which can then further deteriorate your health.

This is a not-so hidden crisis in our culture and one that we simply must address. Otherwise, all the health care breakthroughs about which we read day-in and day-out are truly only for the haves.

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