The healthcare system in America is far from perfect. One of the reasons for this is because of the state of health insurance coverage. While the goal of having insurance would seem like it should be to know you are taken care in times of medical need, the current system we have can leave us confused, in debt, frustrated, and anything but reassured. Today we will go through some of the flaws of this system, and the burden those flaws place upon our health.
We need healthcare, and there is no way around that. Around $4 Trillion is spent annually on healthcare, and that number is rising. The price of medical care, medical coverage, and medications themselves are also rapidly increasing as time goes by. Though the supposed goal of insurance is to reduce the cost and load on the average person, many are still burdened by its weight.
First, you have the premium payments needed to keep the insurance, though this is not the problem for the majority of insurance holders. Then you have deductibles, the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance will kick in for larger expenses. Almost half of deductibles are $1,000 or more, and for most people that is a huge amount of money to have to pay at one time, often without much warning that it will be necessary. After the deductible is exceeded, most of the time the insurance plan will still leave the patient to foot a portion of the bill, which can still be very expensive depending on the treatment that is required. It’s no surprise that about 60% of all Americans that file for bankruptcy do so because of an inability to pay for medical bills.
There is a strong chance that you don’t fully understand your health insurance plan, but don’t feel bad about this, as only 4% of Americans have a full grasp on their coverage. This really isn’t shocking, and it’s not unlikely that you know someone with health insurance that has gotten saddled with a surprise medical bill at some point in their lives. The answer to questions like if a procedure you need will be covered, what it will actually cost, and if you’ll have to have to fight the insurance company about paying for something, always seem to be that you will find out once it actually happens. There are of course more philosophical questions about the system as well, like why we need separate plans for dental care, eye care, and medications.
One of the most confusing things is the counterintuitive nature of the entire system. Health insurance companies make more money off of healthy people that don’t end up using the insurance that they pay for. This means they aren’t incentivized to actually want to help the people that do need their service, as they will lose money. One would think this would mean insurance companies would want to push comprehensive and complete preventative care measures, but most don’t, instead just covering routine services like immunizations and run of the mill checkups.
Many Don’t Have Insurance
Health insurance is normally tied to employment, with the employers assisting the employee by paying most of the insurance premium. Though the employees are left to the mercy of the insurance plans that their company supports, which may be good or bad depending on the options provided to them, this generally saves the employee a lot of money while also greatly simplifying the process of acquiring health coverage. This of course will run out if one loses their job, and one that changes jobs or whose company switches supported coverage options may experience a lapse in coverage. Those that are unemployed, employed part-time, or work at companies that don’t provide insurance, are most of the time left out in the cold, amounting to tens of millions of Americans lacking health insurance.
How This Affects Our Health
The biggest consequence of the current medical system is that many don’t seek medical care that they might need because of the cost. In fact, more than 50% of Americans have avoided care at some point due to not wanting to pay for it. Some individuals will even only be able to seek medical care if it is absolutely critical to do so because of the cost. Another effect is that not fully understanding your health coverage, worrying if you will have the treatment you need covered, and having to pay for large medical bills (especially unexpected ones) can cause you a high level of stress. Stress of course, is one thing that can be incredibly detrimental to your health, causing issues like sleep loss, a weakened immune system, and exasperating serious health conditions like high blood pressure. Finally, some individuals not seeking or being able to seek medical care can affect the health of others. This pandemic for example, has demonstrated that one person not receiving care has a chance of getting others sick, damaging the health of the community as a whole instead of just themselves.
The only real option we have it seems is to avoid health issues as much as possible. At Ways2Well, we strive to help you achieve this, by providing actual comprehensive and complete preventive treatment that will hopefully reduce or eliminate expensive and stressful medical treatments and emergencies in the future. With care that is actually accessible and affordable, you can actually gain time, save money, and become healthier than ever before.
Look out for part 2, where we will talk about the advantages of self-pay.