Jan 25, 2007

Health Insurance The Wild Card

An Associated Press story, no author given, discusses some of the problems presented by governments attempting to mandate solutions to the current lack of health care insurance in this country. The estimates of how many people are currently without any health coverage varies but approximately 60 million would be a fare number. What’s is even foggier and receives almost no media coverage are the numbers that are under insured. As employers and consumers fight to lower costs, insurance companies respond by offering plans that have restricted benefits and coverage.

As illustrated by writer
Chris Lindberg article in People's Weekly World Newspaper:

“Recently a young family celebrated the birth of their child but soon received the sad news that the baby needed heart surgery. Their concern escalated when their health insurance company refused to pay for the surgery. Why? Because the heart problem was a “pre-existing condition.” Read on.”

“Tracy Pierce, 37, lived a full life. He grew up with family and faith. He went to a Catholic school, got married, had a son, and he even had the car of his dreams. It was the perfect life,” reported the Frankfort Indiana Times. But then Pierce was diagnosed with kidney cancer. For 15 months he suffered, while every treatment his doctors sought for him was denied by his insurance provider. First-Health Coventry deemed the treatments were either “not a medical necessity” or experimental. Even at the last stages of his life, he went without oral morphine for more than a week, because his insurance would not cover it.”

It been documented that over the last 6 years 11.5% of employers have dropped employer sponsored plans and nearly all have addressed the increase in costs by, either or both, reducing coverage benefits or transferring costs to the employee.

As state and now federal governments try to respond with an array of ideas and programs, solutions will get bogged down with a slew of litigation from health insurers, small business organizations, medical associations, pharmaceutical companies and political opponents which feel their solutions are superior.

In the last twenty years medical costs have increased more than double the inflation rate, and we all have heard or experienced how an illness at the end of someone’s life have wiped out an entire life work. We all should have adequate health coverage but the excesses in the medical system have to be addressed also.