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BLOGS: Open thread

Now I feel like a real blogger.  Between HSA maverick Ron, the Gadfly, Sue, TheoraJones, Abby, Graham et al, the comments in the last week have got bigger than the blog….and I’ve been real busy and unable to monitor.

That’s great but today’s were mostly way off topic from my pithy attack on Karen Ignagni’s letter.  So how about an open thread (like they do on the real big blogs) so that you can all chat about whatever you like.  My suggestion is that Ron tries to explain the maths behind everyone in America paying $130 a month in insurance premiums, while health care costs as a whole are closer to an average of $500 a month, and those costs are not distributed equally. But you can all talk about whatever you like!

Now I’ve lit the blue touch paper, I’m retiring

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CathyCMommyspikePeter CharbonnierRick Recent comment authors
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Cathy
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Cathy

I’m a 49 year old female that has been in excellent health for 15 years. Well I thought I was anyway, so since my divorce in 2004, I haven’t had health insurance. I had a heart attack on 7/31/2006. They said I had 100% blockage of the Ramus (whatever that is) and when the went in to put in the stent they found 95% blockage. Is there a program that can cover me for these medical bills, and, is there an insurance company that I can get insured with from this point forward?
Cathy

CMommy
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CMommy

I have fairly good insurance through BlueCross-BlueSheild of Kansas City, but have rencently discovered I am pregnant with my second child, and have not been insured with them for two years, so I have been informed they will not be paying for Pre-Natal care, or the delivery. My first delivery resulted in my inability to deliver vaginally in the future, so I must have a C-Section, which would be in the tens of thousands. I am a healthy, normal risk pregnancy, is there any resource to save me from this impending debt?

spike
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spike

It seems like this conversation is dead, but I just wanted to add one question for Ron in case anybody is still listening. The thing that makes me skeptical of your analysis of all of these people winning on the HSA is you tell the winner’s side of the story but don’t tell the loser’s side. With the way healthcare works today, everything is a zero-sum game. If one person is winning, another person is losing, because in healthcare, nobody is interested in actually adding value. All of the improvements are about “increasing negotiating power” and “moving risk”. So in… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Well I could advertise read “Business Week – It’s enough to make you sick.” on WJR in Detroit during drive time for $500 a minute and thousands of their clients would go crazy. What about their agents. Yes, I think losing thousands of clients paying hundreds a month is pain. Imagine that poor manager taking questions from his agents about that article being advertised. It’s enough to make me laugh. The same company is high lighted here under Individual health insurance problems at the Health Care Blog. I haven’t yet advertised against them but their clients are too easy to… Read more »

Rick
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Rick

Ron,
You write things like “Hey Nick – your worst nightmare has just come true. I can cause you pain and make it last. I’m as dangerous to you as a heart attack.” And I’m the loon?

Ron Greiner
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Rick you are a loon. You said don’t try and tell us HSA can be free, that insults our intelligence. I said, “Sorry Rick our HSA is free, there are no fees.” Rick said, “Fight the urge, Ron, to tell me HSAs are sustainable just because the unused balance rolls over, I get it.” I am sorry Rick but I have no idea what you said there. Rick once I enroll someone into an HSA and they get, say $10,000 HSA balance, they can change their HSA fiduciary at any time. It is their account. Our main function is their… Read more »

gadfly
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gadfly

//unending sales pitch is taking on the character of a late-night infomercial//
That seems to be the point. Whether he’s profiting from the sale of HSAs or not, Ron is setting himself up as an evangelist. He’s eyeing a slice of Newt’s 50k per public speaking engagement. Testimonials and press (re: the guy who hasn’t been helping Ron publicize his HSAs) are probably more effective than dry facts and statistics when it comes to proving one’s ability to lead a tent revival.

Rick
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Rick

Ron, Nice rope-a-dope you’re trying to play there. If you can get me a “free” HSA without buying a health plan (and thus, more likely than not, having to be underwritten), or being on a qualifying health plan already, then I’ll be the first to your door. We both know you can’t deliver that because the law requires the qualified health plan first. I don’t mind you trying to sell HSAs, or whatever is your flavor-of-the-month. I mind the dishonesty and insult of fronting them as free, while dodging discussion of the qualifiers. To be fair, I’d trade my FSA… Read more »

gadfly
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gadfly

//I wonder if this is too evil for the current administration to consider, or if it’s just evil enough?// I think the toe in the water here was the suggestion that chips be injected into children to protect them from kidnapping. That pitted the parents worst nightmares against the chip. If I remember correctly, the ACLU amazingly managed to fight it off despite the playing of the Lurking Child Molester card. //smallest single deductible is $1,000// I still think forcing the “real cost” of health care onto individuals will result in people skimping on care they actually need and create… Read more »

gadfly
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gadfly

//any facts – any – to back up what you have said?//
Only the experience of having watched the MBAs in action while working in a business division of Kaiser. Kaiser was snapping up the people that BofA sloughed off during their numerous realignments.

Ron Greiner
Guest

Abby,
What happens with a $450 a month RX charge?
The deductible for a single HSA is $2,600 a year, usually. After covered expenses, including RX, hit $2,600 all covered claims are covered 100%. And of course the deductible can be paid with pretax dollars with an HSA.
A single can move the deductible down but the premium will go up and HSA deposits will be restricted to the size of the deductible. The smallest single deductible is $1,000 adjusted to inflation.

Ron Greiner
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Matthew, $50K speaking fees and the $200K memberships and don’t forget the book sales. Rick, You said, //Please don’t try to sell us on the notion that HSAs are free. That borders on insulting.// Sorry Rick, our HSA has no fees and only pays interest. Our insurance company is the only company with the insurance and the HSA. Most insurance companies partner with banks and usually they charge $4 a month and the client gets a debit card. HSA clients may also place their balance in mutual funds with these banks. Because we have both the insurance and the HSA… Read more »

Peter Charbonnier
Guest

AAARGH! I’ve been reading these comments for the past couple of days, and I think I just had a stroke…of genius! EMRs, HSAs and now Real ID. All of this adds up to a single, technological solution to provide the quickest, largest possible addition to the healthcare margin AND will act as a boon to Homeland Security as well. How? Simple: Real ID is nothing more than a National ID card, but who wants to carry one of those around? Not me! And what good is an EMR if it’s not accessible (lack of interoperability, network downtime ect.)? Not much… Read more »

Rick
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Rick

Ron,
Please don’t try to sell us on the notion that HSAs are free. That borders on insulting. That’s like saying that the tires are free when you buy a car to go with them. One must be enrolled in a qualifying health plan to get an HSA. The running gag around here is that CDHP stands for “consultant-directed health plans” because administering them is very complicated and makes lots of money for consultants.

Matthew Holt
Guest

I’m sure that Newt’s 50K speaking fees and the 200K memberships his center gets from big health care companies are purely driven by the quality of his research into HSAs and EMRs.