POLICY: It’s not just me saying that the individual market sucks

You’ve heard me saying it often enough.  And later this week I will start to tell you my new personal horror show in navigating yet another twist in the individual insurance market.  But given the lack of a rational government regulated system that anyone can access, the NY Times is right to say that Employer-Backed Health Care Is Here to Stay, for Lack of a Better Choice.

What is also clear, though, is that there are no clear alternatives. Corporate executives and many others are leery of a government solution, but no one has come up with a private-sector option that has gained significant support. Because individuals who buy private insurance on their own pay much higher prices than the group rates employers get, many people could probably not afford health insurance if their employers were not buying it for them.

And I love what Helen Darling, the voice of big employers on health care, says in this juicy quote.

"There’s no functioning individual market" for insurance, Ms. Darling said.

Too bloody true, no matter how much free-market fantasists who haven’t read their Adam Smith might wish it weren’t so.

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8 replies »

  1. BTW, the State of Florida introduced HSA plans for the first time in 2006. The enrollment numbers are just coming in, but it seems that less than 1% of the eligible population enrolled in HSAs.

  2. Although, I am not a fan of HSA plans, it is rare to find a group plan that is less expensive that an Individual plan (I’m in Florida). Even when considering benefit value.
    Now, if you consider the employer funding of most Fortune 500 companies and public sector employers Mat’s right. That’s why most people have a shit fit after seeing COBRA rates when they get canned.

  3. My sister-in-law is Chinese and she makes you pay up front for an egg roll. America’s 1st qualified MSA deposit was in a company called Fortis. They are in China too, trust me. If “world wide” HSA family insurance is available for $185 a month in Lansing, it would cost much less in China were auto workers earn $50 a month. If an American Doc makes $1 million per year, a ChinaDoc makes less. We could probably sell that above HSA Qualifying health insurance, that pays to $8 million per person, for $7.11 a month per family in some Chinese zip codes. Plus, millions of Chinese could put their HSA funds in the mutual funds of American companies to help drive the American economy, the economic engine of the world. Sounds pretty good, vote Bush 44.

  4. Shanghai Surprise: Chinese Consumer Driver Healthcare
    Interesting 12/5/05 WSJ article. WSJ.com – Chinese Doctors Tell Patients To Pay Upfront, or No Treatment*
    So consumer driven: transparent transactions, cost conscious patients, individual responsibility.
    How empowering — let a billion bake sales flower.

  5. I have enrolled many more HSAs than you Hippocrates, sorry. I’m going to watch ShowDown in MoTown tonight in Detroit. Zandstra for U.S. Senate is coming to replace lunatic left-wing Democratic Senator Stabenow. OK Matthew, please explain how $185/mo premium plus max family Out-Of-Pocket per family of $5,200 annually on HSA insurance is more than $1,000 premium alone that taxpayers pay for MI state emploees. Plus, the employee is strapped with all those deductibles and co-pays with traditional over-priced dangerous employer-based plans. You will need 2 calculators Matthew, good luck.

  6. Ron, it’s good to know that someone’s still supporting your brave leader. Pity you’re not a Senator, as they’ve all deserted him….
    But stop misrepresenting what I say, and I might stop intimating that you have no idea what you’re talking about. However, on a premium-per-benefit basis group plans are cheaper, so you yet again are wrong.

  7. NY Times, ha ha. Pres Bush was all over the HSA today, it was great. He was good. He said the HSA was portable but [not employer-based insurance]. Losing 3% market share per year, losers, those over-priced dangerous group plans. A family of 4 can get individual HSA insurance in Lansing for $185 a month. Matthew spews that group plans are cheaper, that’s crazy. Don’t pay $1,000 per month if $185 is better. Plus, store your savings in an HSA. If you’re young vote Republican to be a multi-millionare. Vote Democrat to own, only what you wear. Reduce premium, eliminate taxes, build wealth, become EMPOWERED. Go tax free with an HSA.

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