Health care- Third party payer system to blame for rising costsOne of the biggest concerns for disability applicants is health care. Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)applicants do not have medical care, insurance or sufficient funds to go to the doctor and get a diagnosis and good healthcare. The question most applicants in this situation ask is, How do I get good health care if I cannot see the doctor? The second question which follows is, How do I get SSDI or SSI without evidence of my disorder? These are both great questions, and unfortunately, the answer generally is it will be very hard to do either.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
Health care and Overrun Cost
While I am not an expert in healthcare, I have become convinced that one of the biggest issues for the rising costs of health care benefits is the third-party payer system. When we are spending our own money we generally try to get the most benefit possible for the money we spend; when we are spending someone elses money, well, we dont really care how much a service cost.
For instance, if you have insurance you probably dont shop around for the best value because the cost for each medical procedure or appointment is very low. If you go to the doctor you may have to pay a small co-pay, generally around $30. If you have a medical test or procedure you might pay a small deductible. So it is not uncommon for many of us to go to the doctor for even minor issues and why not when it may cost as little as $10 to $30?
For many years insurance covered only major medical procedures and hospitalization, but now healthcare insurance covers more and more routine medical expenses. As a result, you, the consumer, pay only a small portion of the true cost. This means that if government or private insurance is paying the majority of the actual costs there is a higher incentive to purchase more health care.
Take a real world example. What if every time you went to the mall to buy clothing someone else would pay over 80% of the bill? Chances are you would end up buying a lot more clothes and the cost of clothing would rise for everyone, just like healthcare has done in the last ten to fifteen years.
Think about medical procedures which are not covered by insurance such as cosmetic procedures or Lasik eye surgery. Over the last few years we have seen very little increase in the cost of these elective procedures. Why, because providers have had to compete in a real market where insurance has not muddied the waters.
How can the problem be solved? Many suggest a combination of a high-deductible insurance plans with a medical savings account. This type of plan allows the consumer to have protection for the most devastating medical crisis but pay for more routine medical expenses out of pocket.
Obamacare, unfortunately, seems to be a move in the wrong direction if reducing medical expenses are the goal. Now, more consumers will think even less about the true cost of their medical care and market forces will be completely stifled, ultimately resulting in even higher healthcare costs.