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The GOP Myth: Health Insurance Across State Lines Will Lower Costs! The Truth: Buying The Policy May Cause Your Death!

Updated on December 29, 2011

Buying Health Insurance From Out of State-How It Can Kill!

The GOP promotes two ideas that they believe will lower the cost of health insurance. The first is always: Allow people to purchase policies across state lines and second, the idea of tort reform. This article concentrates on the flaws of the first theory. Not only is it a bad idea to purchase out of state insurance policies, the practice could kill you. It will not save money for you, the consumer. It just leads to further deregulation of the private health care insurance industry and can be a significant risk to your health. The GOP is lying and I will do my best to explain how.

First to explain the theory. The GOP believes that competition is the very best method of cost control in any industry, including health care. They are convinced that if there are more companies competing for a limited number of customers, prices would come down. They also believe that the policies in your state may be too expensive and if cheaper options are offered, then the consumer would benefit by being able to purchase the cheaper option. Sounds good, right? Remember the old saying that you get what you pay for? In this case, it is for the most part, true.

The explanation is a little dry, but I will do my best. If you have a credit card, chances are it was issued from a state that has little regulation; in other words, the GOP fought for decreased regulation of credit cards and the states that have the least number of protections for consumers are a haven for credit card companies. Because of this, you may find that your credit card was issued out of Delaware or South Dakota. Health insurance is the same way. Each state has a Department of Insurance. They each have their own guidelines for what MUST be offered in any policy sold within the borders of their own state. Not all insurers want to comply with the rules in each state, so they do not offer policies in the state. If they did not mind complying with state rules and regulations, there would be no reason for them to stay out of each state.

States do not say, "We are going to only allow 100 insurance companies to do business in our state". They say, "If you are willing to comply with our regulations, you are welcome to do business here". I will use the same example illustrated by Ezra Klein, in an article he wrote for the Washington Post. California requires that any health insurance policy sold in the state provide coverage for lead poisoning. Arkansas does not. If you have a regulated state, there will be many more things that must be covered under your insurance policy. If the GOP had their way, you would be able to purchase a policy from a state that has few or even no regulations.

The GOP Would NOT Force Other State Policies To Cover Illnesses Your State Covers!

The GOP has no intentions of calling for uniform coverage. They believe in states' rights, especially when it comes to private health insurers and credit card companies. They receive millions in contributions from these companies. It would not be in their best interests to impose uniform coverage requirements. So, you live in California and you want to buy a policy issued in Alabama. What coverage will not have to be included that is included in California? The policy will not need to include coverage for: blood lead poisoning, contraception, cervical cancer or HPV screening, diabetic supplies, emergency services, mastectomy, maternity, etc. This is NOT a complete list, but buy an insurance policy from Alabama, and you may find out too late that what you need is not covered.

If, as the GOP recommends, buying across state lines becomes legal, every insurance company and every subsidiary would find it in their best interests to move to Alabama. I certainly would if I owned an insurance company. In the interest of lessening the hate mail that I receive from Alabama, there are many other states that also have few regulations.

Illnesses Are Not The Only Consideration

States require that all policies sold in their states cover certain types of practitioners. Say you want to use a nurse practitioner. In some states, the services of a nurse practitioner would be covered; in other states, no. If you had one of the policies that disallowed coverage of nurse practitioners and you saw your doctor's nurse practitioner, you would end up paying the entire bill. So in addition to illnesses, each state has practitioner regulations and facility regulations. Buy a policy from out of state and you may fnd that that the hospital emergency room is not covered.

Most people never even read their health insurance contracts. Many read just the booklet that comes with the policy, and few of them understand the booklet. The booklet is NOT the contract and the booklet can be misleading. The lay person rarely understands limitations of coverage, conditions of eligibility, exclusions, authorization, schedules of benefits, etc.

I recently came into contact with the family of a small business owner. The dad, who owned the small business, had been paying hundreds of dollars a month for a private health insurance policy for himself and his family. The dad had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer and was horrified to learn that his chemotherapy treatments were not a benefit of his policy. What a horrible time to find out that you have no coverage! He is now on Medicaid and all of those years spent paying thousands and thousands of dollars, wasted, because he did not understand the limitations of coverage. Believe it or not, the sales agent that sold him the policy, was shocked, as well.

So, while it may sound good to be able to purchase across state lines, it is difficult enough to navigate the policies governed by your own state, much less those that come in, unregulated, from other states.

As a side note: I have written many articles on health insurance and have recently noticed that some of those articles have been reprinted, without permission, without being attributed to me. One of the sites that is guilty of this is a foreign company currently being investigated by their own country for fraud. They are using one of my articles, with my name removed, to entice people to sign up for their services. Please be cautious when seeking assistance with your health insurance problems. Not all companies are above board. If they steal writing, imagine what they will do with your money!


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  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Amillar,

    The Republicans have always been against anything that regulates any part of profit-driven health care. This year and last, they think they can get away with anything. They have seen recently that if the lies they tell are framed in just the right way, they are believed.

    I have heard much about health care in the UK and even though there are some problems, at least people have access to care. There may be some delays, etc. but there are 50 million people in our country that have NO health insurance. Until we smarten up and take profit out of the picture, we are in trouble.

    Just one of the meds I take is $450.00 a month. Without insurance, my meds would cost $3000.00 a month. Would I die without them? Yes. Is that okay with the GOP? Yes. The great country of the USA just can't afford medical care for 50 million of its citizens. We can go to war, build the most sophisticated killing machines, but take care of our own people, even children? No. It is not a priority. 40 million of our children are estimated to be food insecure. It is tragic! Yet, we so righteously tell the rest of the world that we are 'exceptional'.

    Sorry, I must logoff now. Getting too pissed off! Will talk to you later, Amillar. Take care!

  • amillar profile image

    amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

    That looks like very useful info for your compatriots. We have the National Health Service here in the UK, but it's been under attack since its introduction in 1948. Yet, even the most rapacious right-winger has to tread softly when trying to undermine it; the British people just haven‘t stood for it - yet.

    Up and useful.

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Dear CreatePerfection,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I am still halfway between a tear and a smile. Read your excerpt from E.E. Cummings and it fits perfectly with your hub this morning.

    I was fortunate to have worked so deeply with healthcare, that when I hear something, I am able to carry it through and add the implications surrounding the statements. Sure, a policy that is cheaper is what we all seek, but if after we purchase it and find out that our heart disease, diabetes, or cancer are not covered, it is not worth a plug (or plugged for the readers in the UK) nickel. There are better ways to lower health care costs.

  • CreatePerfection profile image

    CreatePerfection 6 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

    Hi Jillian, this is such a useful article. The American people have taken the bait of the GOP, hook, line and sinker. It grieves me much to know that the end of the ideals of democracy will come on the smiling faces of the ignorant, but after this last mid-term election, it is clear that America is in the deepest trouble of our country's life.

    Also, I agree with Terry, Jillian for Health Care Czar! Thank you for this excellent article.


  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Terry,

    I may take you up on that offer. Would love to help solve the problems of health care. It has always been my passion! Funny thing about the policies- because many states leave so much out of the coverage, the customers pay and pay and pay, then get sick and find out that the insurance companies link the current illness to an exclusion. Then, not only are they sick, but they find out they have to pay for the illness, too. It never ends up being cheaper for the patient, just cheaper for the insurance companies...

    Have been helping people for years, mostly for free(great capitalist, right?), with their insurance problems. Just can not bring myself to charge someone when I feel they are already getting ripped off, so if the title Czar comes with some money, I will take it!

  • Terry.Hirneisen profile image

    Terry.Hirneisen 6 years ago from Shenandoah Valley

    You make it very clear why the idea is nonsense. I never thought about the issue much, but it seems intuitive if the policies in Alabama are cheaper than Illinois, the coverage in Alabama is less. It seems to me every GOP candidate up for election in 2012 should be thrown out.

    I voted UP and Awesome as always. Let's vote for Jillian for Health Care Czar!

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Thank you, Lee!

  • chefsref profile image

    Lee Raynor 6 years ago from Citra Florida

    Hi Jillian, Thanx for this hub, you present a lot of info I wasn't aware of.

    Up, Useful, Awesome and shared


  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Thank you, Fay! People hear it and believe that buying across state lines is good- It can be so bad!

  • profile image

    Fay Paxton 6 years ago

    Everytime I hear that mantra about buying insurance across state lines I want to scream. Sadly, some poor misinformed citizens are repeating the same nonsense. Thanks for writing this hub and helping to strip away that veneer of foolishness.

    Two thumbs-up for Ezra Klein. It doesn't get much better than that.

    voted up/useful and awesome