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POLICY/HEALTH PLANS: What to do about coverage in Katrina’s diaspora

Ezra Klein has an article up the thorny problem of how to get health coverage or continue it to those who have been displaced. Ezra suggests extending COBRA to all of them. The major problem there of course is that proving who worked where is going to be a nightmare, and with no income many people won’t be able to afford COBRA (or any other kind of insurance, just before you jump in Ron!), and those employers that won’t survive Katrina or which are already effectively finished, will not be able to make their monthly premium payments — which will at some point mean the end of those employers’ plans for ex-employees to buy into using COBRA. This solution may though work for those who have stable employers and have coverage that the employers are continuing to pay for while they’re effectively laid-off or have the money to buy an extension of that employer’s coverage (even if the employer itself is no more) if the insurers can be persuaded to allow that (which I’m sure under the circumstances they can).

For everyone else (which is probably the vast majority)  Ezra basically suggests what seems to be the current prevailing thought. Let those people go on Medicaid in whichever states they end up and let the states make sure that the Feds pick up the tab as part of the overall disaster relief effort as promised.

Of course this is one more reason why a simple national universal insurance system would be a better way of handling things. If everyone was covered then providers could give services in the certainty that they’d get paid. Don’t forget that this will be the situation for those who are over 65, as Medicare is a national system (albeit administered regionally).

And at the least Katrina has uncovered the ugly secret of what it’s like to go without in America today….and going without health care coverage is a big part of going without.

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Matthew Holt
Guest

Whenever someone yammers on about “the government cant do something” I always contrast Fox with the BBC and ask them to take their pick.
Enough for this thread.

spike
Guest
spike

Hi Eric,
I can give you two examples: Medicare (based on working in the billing and eligibility sectors of healthcare, I maintain that Medicare is the most efficient and effective payer to work with), and FEMA during Clinton’s presidency. I’m sure there are many more. It’s a ruse that government can’t do anything well. Republicans have been saying it for so long, some people believe it.

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Bob,
I know that. Did I mis-spell somewhere? My son has that, as you must know.
Lucky I didn’t get my health insurance from you Bob. I’m sure you know that too.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Note to RG:
The correct spelling is Crohn’s, not Crone’s . . .

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Rick, Bob is correct that a Group Health insurance plan would cost your family about $400 a month instead of your $150. A 55 year old family would pay a lot more on group coverage. I bet Bob’s group clients are buying HSA Qualifying coverage this year. A recent survey reported 32% of employers will be offering “Consumer Directed” health plans for employees next year. It’s an explosion. Always remember, even if your coverage is so much cheaper than what Bob is selling, it’s much more secure. If Bob’s covered employees become so sick they can not fulfill their eligibility… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

Rick – For the most part, folks paying $800+ a month 1) have family coverage and 2) are either paying a COBRA premium (not always out of necessity) or have been with an individual carrier for so long they are now in the high risk block. The HDHP is actually a throwback to the time when the CMM (comprehensive major medical) was first introduced about 30 years ago. At that time most folks were conditioned into buying the base + major med plans popularized by BX. Those plans offered first dollar benefits for things like doc visits. This was before… Read more »

Rick
Guest
Rick

This is just an observation, and maybe it means nothing, but I do notice that every time Ron Greiner gives an anecdotal tale of woe, his new customer was always “paying $800 a month,” “paying $1,200 a month,” “paying $2,100 a month.” It seems to me this gives us an idea of just who HDHP/HSAs are intended for. That someone can afford to pay more for insurance (whether they are doing so willingly or not) than I’m paying for my house payment, car payment and cell phone bill combined, tells me they are not a Walmart clerk or a waitress.… Read more »

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Bob, let us look at what you are selling from your own website: Value Plan Procedure: Insurance Pays: Doctor Office Visits $30 Diagnostic Testing $30 Child Wellness Visits $30 Hospitalization $100 a day Intensive Care Unit $200 a day Surgery (Inpatient / Outpatient) $500 / $200 Emergency Room $100 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Please, you can call $100 a day in the hospital insurance, but this sucks. I’m so proud of you Bob. I have many clients with cancer as we speak. They are so lucky they met me instead of you. Yes, every one of our commercials say – “Medical Underwriting Required.”… Read more »

rdg
Guest
rdg

RE: paying premiums after losing a job. Its a lot easier to pay $150 a month (HSA Premium) out of savings than to pay $815 a month (group plan COBRA premium).

Bob
Guest
Bob

Greiner –
Will Fortis cover when one applies for coverage with any of the following in their medical history? Here is a brief list . . .
AIDS, ALS, Autism, CP, CHF, Diabetes, Down syndrome, Hemophilia, MS, Pacemaker, Sleep apnea, Tourettes.
Well, I could go on but why?
Let me save you the keystrokes. Every one of these is a decline.
Yeah, that group insurance is dangerous coverage alright.
And thanks for posting the Basic Health link. I have quite a few diabetics covered, as well as those with heart conditions and cancer. Everyone of them would be declined by Fortis.
Buhbye!!

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Eric,
I saw at your site that Dr. Moffit was coming, congradulations.
Our advertising has started and so have the calls. I was training a new rep today and the first two calls were both paying over $2,100 a month for their family health insurance.
It sure costs alot for those people over 50.

Eric Novack
Guest

Spike- Call it my naivete, but I cannot agree with your argument. Remember that this president signed, and both parties in Congress passed, the single largest expansion of the federal entitlement system in 40 years with the medicare drug bill. I do not think- but please correct me- that you are suggesting that by expanding an unfunded endless entitlement, that President Bush wants to destroy the US… A little too conspiracy theory-ish for me. I presume the upcoming investigations will not shed much positive light on local (democratic), state (democratic) or federal (republican) initial response. Those who suggest that increased… Read more »

Ron Greiner
Guest
Ron Greiner

Matthew, When an insured employee quits the employer usually calls and asked for their insurance to be terminated. We inform them that no one can terminate the employee’s insurance besides the employee themselves. We then inform the client that they can continue the insurance if they so desire. Some people continue some do not. If they are sick they usually continue like the lady that I talked to yesterday. She has a very expensive condition and the employer has made HSA deposits, it was originally an MSA, and the balance is $4,000. The only way she can lose her coverage… Read more »

gadfly
Guest
gadfly

Another reason to be concerned about those poor people who “won’t take care of themselves” (with their 0 income). I’ve had a bad case of the flu for the last week (which came on top of an infection, for those obsessively following my adventures in uninsurance). That means I’m spreading the flu all over every time I go outside. Yesterday I had to go to the grocery story – I wonder how many people I infected then? Because I’m uninsured and my immune system was already compromised by the infection (a common problem for the poor/uninsured), the flu will probably… Read more »

Matthew Holt
Guest

Those of you reading this may not know that I had an open thread about Ron’s postings last year, and by and large people were happy to leave him be. I as yet don’t have an “ignore” feature on this blog (as say the Yahoo stock message boards do). So while Ezra may boot his comments, I won’t. However, I agree that some kind of portable non-employment based coverage is the best option — and in every other country national health insurance is that option. Ron thinks that we should all have individual high-deductible plans. Forgetting the other issues connected… Read more »