I have some grave concerns about the current and proposed health care systems. While my husband was working for the city government, we had very good benefits for a reasonable out-of-pocket cost. He retired four years ago, and the situation changed drastically. We could continue on the same plan, but of course without the employer subsidy. His portion, which was fully covered while he was employed, would now be a net cost of about $260 a month. Mine, however, would be about $7-800 per month.
I opted to start an HSA account, and my husband wanted to stay with the city plan. My reasons for the HSA:
- Lower premiums. I am very healthy and disciplined enough to save the difference in premiums.
- Tax credit for the amount I put into the fund each year
- Assessment of my risk level. Even though the deductible is higher, with a good health history, I can anticipate saving up the deuctible amount, and still save lots of money in the process.
- More control over my money and health care choices. After all, if I put money into the HSA account, it is still my money, even if it is “locked up” and restricted for health care. Once I send money to an insurance company, it is no longer mine, and chances are fair in the short run that I may never need to claim what I have put in.
This last item is very important to my feelings about the health care bill that is before Congress. I would much rather keep control of my money than to put it in the hands of health insurance companies or government bureaucracies.
An HSA account allows me to choose to accept more financial responsibility for my medical care, making provision along the way for future needs. I have no desire to pay high insurance premiums that will cover everything, since I have the non-catastrophic portion covered. I discovered a maxim many years ago, that the more you want someone else to do for you, the higher the price to get the service.
HB 3200, the health care reform bill, has rhetoric that says Americans should take more responsibility for healthy living and for helping cut health care costs. However, it will do away with one of the greatest tools of choice in the industry–the choice to have a combination of self-insured plus major medical that is available in the HSA. The government plan will mandate certain minimal levels of coverage, whether I want or need them, and it appears that within five years, I will be forced into a public option since I am self-employed. What is worse, I can be fined substantially if I don’t accept the “choice” that is offered to me.
5 Freedoms You’d Lose in Health Care Reform
If you read the fine print in the Congressional plans,
you’ll find that a lot of cherished aspects of the current system would disappear.
By Shawn Tully, editor at large
July 24, 2009
NEW YORK (Fortune) — In promoting his health-care agenda, President Obama has repeatedly reassured Americans that they can keep their existing health plans — and that the benefits and access they prize will be enhanced through reform.
A close reading of the two main bills, one backed by Democrats in the House and the other issued by Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Health committee, contradict the President’s assurances. To be sure, it isn’t easy to comb through their 2,000 pages of tortured legal language. But page by page, the bills reveal a web of restrictions, fines, and mandates that would radically change your health-care coverage.
If you prize choosing your own cardiologist or urologist under your company’s Preferred Provider Organization plan (PPO), if your employer rewards your non-smoking, healthy lifestyle with reduced premiums, if you love the bargain Health Savings Account (HSA) that insures you just for the essentials, or if you simply take comfort in the freedom to spend your own money for a policy that covers the newest drugs and diagnostic tests — you may be shocked to learn that you could lose all of those good things under the rules proposed in the two bills that herald a health-care revolution.
In short, the Obama platform would mandate extremely full, expensive, and highly subsidized coverage — including a lot of benefits people would never pay for with their own money — but deliver it through a highly restrictive, HMO-style plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can’t have. It’s a revolution, all right, but in the wrong direction.
Let’s explore the five freedoms that Americans would lose under Obamacare: (Please read the full article here for the details under each point.)
1. Freedom to choose what’s in your plan
2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs
3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage
4. Freedom to keep your existing plan
5. Freedom to choose your doctors
The best solution is to move to a let-freedom-ring regime of high deductibles, no community rating, no standard benefits, and cross-state shopping for bargains (another market-based reform that’s strictly taboo in the bills). I’ll propose my own solution in another piece soon on Fortune.com. For now, we suffer with a flawed health-care system, but we still have our Five Freedoms. Call them the Five Endangered Freedoms.
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Filed under: Community Chronicles, Legislative Lookout | Tagged: Citizen Intervention, citizens' rights, conservatives, constitution, disaster prevention, Economic Crisis, politics, President Obama, taxes |