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What You Need To Know About Health Insurance Reform

Updated on August 4, 2013
un-negotiated pricing isn't of much help either...
un-negotiated pricing isn't of much help either...

This is especially true for those that are struggling to pay their bills as it is, and chances are if you are struggling to pay your bills, you don’t have extra

The truth is that while many people will disagree on the reasons behind it, the health care system in the United States is not in the best shape it could be. The United States is considered a leader in the free world when it comes to things such as science and medicine, yet many millions of Americans worry about how they will go to the doctor, or even worse, how their children will receive the medical care they need to grow up to be strong and healthy. The sad fact is that medical care and health insurance is expensive and will just be going up for 2014, and for families who are struggling to pay for basic necessities such as food and shelter, buying insurance that may or may not be used is out of the question.

The Debate

So why can’t anyone agree on a solution to the problem? Because many people have differences of opinions as to what the actual problem is, so finding a solution isn’t necessarily a walk in the park.

Many politicians want the health care system in the United States under the control of the government, and while some people think that would be better than the way things work now, many still think it could be worse. Then there are politicians who think the problem is non-existent, which angers people from both sides everywhere.

Then there are those who believe that serious reforms are necessary. In some cases these reforms would include a current tax and insurance law that would make people totally responsible for their own healthcare costs. Many people think this is okay; while those who are currently struggling do not.

So why is our healthcare so bad in this country?We are almost in 2014! The answer is not an easy one. Some people think it is that people who don’t have it don’t put it as a priority, while many of those who don’t have it simply can’t afford it. If you ask different people, their answers will often depend on how much money they have, what stage they are in in their lives, whether they have children, and a host of other factors. Many will even say that you don’t need to have healthcare if you take care of yourself on a regular basis with diet and exercise. The point is that there are many factors in determining the cause for the state of healthcare today, and you won’t get the same answer as to the solution, not today, and probably not tomorrow either.

Free Market

Most businesses in the United States operate on what is known as a “free market”. This means that as a consumer, you are free to make your own choices when it comes to how you spend your money. Using this economic system, the consumers are the ones that have the say as to which products become popular, which remain around for long periods of time, and which fail miserably. This works well in most industries such as cars, fashion and accessories, restaurants and more. It even works out fine for other types of insurance, such as car insurance, life insurance and homeowners insurance. For health insurance, however it does not work nearly as well. The reasons are simple.

First of all the health care system is not operated by freedom of choice the way the car industry is for example. Many people get their insurance through their employer, and this means that they don’t really have a choice as to what they have; they have to use whatever plan the employer pays into. They can of course find a different plan on their own, but this is a costly method that doesn’t really make a lot of sense since employee health plans are generally significantly less expensive. This means that as a buyer, you don’t have a choice which company to use, how much you pay, or what it covers. You can only purchase whatever your employer decides is good.

In addition, when you buy health insurance through your employer’s plan, the employer owns the policy, even though it is the employee that pays for it. If you decide you want a new job, you no longer have right to use that health plan. This keeps many people tied to jobs they hate or forces them to go without health insurance if they want a job that does not offer it.

Then there is the issue of conscience. Many employees do not want to participate in insurance plans that pay for abortions for example, but they don’t really have a say in the matter if that is the policy the employer has chosen. So they are forced to either use an insurance policy that goes against their moral beliefs, forgo health insurance altogether or pay premiums which could be as much s 50% higher than what is available through their jobs. None of these choices is exactly appealing.

What Can Be Done?

Well, there are many options, but unfortunately for the people who have to make the ultimate decision, agreeing on the right option has proven challenging in the past, and will likely be not get any easier in the future.

One option is to expand the options so that consumers have more choice, much like they do for other type of insurance. You don’t buy car insurance, life insurance or homeowners insurance through your employer, so why must you buy your health insurance through them? This is the way the system has been for so long, that many people are just used to it. They don’t question it; they just accept it.

By creating a healthcare tax credit that offers a tax benefit for buying insurance from a provider that is not through an employer, consumers are at least getting somewhat of a different option when it comes to buying health or Medicare insurance. It may still cost more, but at least they won’t have to feel as trapped.

Another option is to make the policies that are purchased by the employer to be owned by the patient so that they may take that same policy with them wherever they go. If you get a new job, you don’t have to worry about finding a new doctor that is covered under your new insurance provider, or worse yet, going without insurance at all. This would be true portability when it comes to healthcare coverage.

By removing statutory prohibitions or tax penalties applied, consumers could buy insurance policies that are sold in states other than their own, meaning they could save more money and have more freedom to choose policies that meet their individual needs, not the needs that their employers have set for an entire group.

Being Informed for 2014

If you are tired of the way things are done regarding the current health care system, you must take the initiative to do something. It doesn’t matter what your views are or what you think should be done, doing nothing will produce zero results.

The first step is being informed. This is done in several ways.

First, find out exactly what your own health insurance policy covers along with Medicare for your parents which can be quoted at AbleMedicare.com. If you are concerned about whether your employer’s health care plan pays for abortions, ask them as their policy may change in the coming year. If you have other moral or religious objections, ask about those as well. Some of the biggest changes in Medicare have and are happening around 2013-2014

Next, find out who in your state makes decision that directly affect you and your family’s healthcare. Find out what the regulations mean and how these regulations will affect your premiums as well as your bottom line. Each state is different. In some states, the residents of the state will elect an insurance commissioner, and in others, the governor appoints a commissioner. In yet other states, legislatures enact mandates, and in others still, the insurance commissioner imposes them without the say of anyone else.

And finally, you should be familiar with your states mandates. Everyone has moral objections, but if you don’t know what they are or whether or not your insurance company pays for them, you can’t do anything about it. Also, a whole bunch of tips provided by Aetna: http://custom.aetna.com/lm/retireetotalhealth/LM_Tips.html, they've got some good information on network providers.

Even though the system is not the best, there are still many low or no cost options available to those who are willing to look. There are many programs out there that are designed to help low income families receive basic healthcare and there are many more that specialize in helping children. The best ways to find out where those places are is to do a quick online search, or ask around. Many churches, local charities and other organizations are happy to help those in need, and will hardly turn away children.

If you want a change, you’re going to have to be that change. It does not matter what you think is necessary to make the insurance system in the United States better; what matters is that you at least try. Talk to people in your community; write to your representatives, make your voice heard. By doing nothing, you’ll achieve nothing. By getting the word out and going after the changes you want to see, you may still achieve nothing, but at least that way you have the right to complain.

Your family’s healthcare is important. People die in the United States every single day because they don’t have access to regular healthcare and doctor’s visits. Many people get treated, but end up with medical bills that cause them to lose their homes, their jobs and even become bankrupt. Whether you agree or not that the healthcare system needs reformed, we all have to agree that it is unfair that so many people have to go through this each day. While you alone cannot change the system, you can be informed and do the best you can with what you’ve got.

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