As a way to begin let's define what I mean by traditional health insurance. The traditional health insurance policy is composed of:
The deductible – This is the amount that you have to pay for a medical event before your health insurance will start to pay. In today's world that deductible is often $ 3000 or more.
The coinsurance – After the deductible is met most policies require that the insured pay a percentage of all medical costs up to a maximum. Usually the insured pays anywhere from 20% to as much as 50% of every dollar billed.
The copays – In an attempt to make routine health care accessible many policies include a copay for doctor visits and prescriptions in lieu of having to meet a deductible. An example of this is the $ 10 office visit copay.
Maximum Out-Of-Pocket Costs – This is the most that an insured can expect to pay regardless of how large the medical bills are. As a general rule the maximum out-of-pocket costs for an individual are limited to around $ 7000. This can be a very misleading number because it assumes that all of your providers are in your network. If they are out of network your costs can be significantly higher.
And finally the "Network" – Virtually every traditional individual health insurance policy is tied to a network of providers. The narrower the healthcare network, the lower the premium. There is too much wrong with "networks" for this article. Suffice it to say that "networks" are the enemy of the healthcare consumer (you).
The Problem Facing Working Americans
The problem is simple: health insurance premiums are too high for most working Americans in the absence of a subsidy and when combined with extremely high deductible and out of pocket costs, healthcare becomes unaffordable. Let's look at a couple of examples right here in North Carolina.
A non-smoking couple ages 62 and 63 find that their lowest premium option with BCBS of NC is $ 1999 a month for a $ 13,300 family deductible with no copays. A plan with a $ 7000 deductible and $ 25 office visit copays would cost $ 2682 per month.
Assuming the least expensive plan the annual cost would be $ 23,988 annually. And if either person had a medical event such as cancer, the actual cost for healthcare would be $ 37,288. You have to ask: "Why even have health insurance?"
A non-smoking 30 year old couple found that the least expensive plan would cost $ 787.84 a month for a $ 13,300 family deductible with no copays. The least expensive plan that included copays was $ 1056.88 but had a $ 7000 deductible and the most restrictive network. Assuming the least expensive plan, should either member of this young couple have a medical event their total annual cost (deductible + premium) would be $ 16,454.08. That is a devastating amount of money for a young couple.
The simple solution to this problem is a …