The Rising Cost of Healthcare: How it Relates to Your Insurance Plan

11:35 AM, Aug 31, 2022
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Pretend you’re a car.

No, really. You could even add those giant eyelashes to your headlights if you want!

In the U.S., the odds are good; you have insurance because it’s the law. So, if your driver bangs up your front end trying to read the customized license plate of the car in front of them, you don’t go broke getting a nose job. There may be some out-of-pocket costs for the driver to fix you up, but it likely won’t break your piggy bank. There’s a monthly fee for this coverage — but because everyone is required to pay into it, the premiums are reasonable.

This, in small part, was the idea behind the Affordable Care Act — reduced premiums because everyone was required to pay into it. The cost of funding care for people with serious illness and injury would be offset by the sheer number of people insured, most of whom rarely use their coverage. Combined with legislation providing additional state funds and increased consumer visibility to health insurance options via the Healthcare Exchange on healthcare.gov, we quickly saw the first drop in the uninsured rate in years.

Fewer uninsured people = a larger pool of resources, which can help lower premiums for those insured.

Of course, the part of the ACA requiring health insurance has since been all but repealed — the fine for having no insurance now stands at $0, so you can get a few decals for your bumper if you like (hey, you’re still a car, remember?) Nevertheless, the momentum generated by many uninsured finding coverages and the funding of the Exchange market has carried forward. So, things are trending in a good direction — but premiums can still represent a large investment for most. At last count, there are around 25 million Americans who are uninsured. High premiums remain one of the main reasons people are reluctant to sign up for coverage.

Now, before you start revving your engine at that little hot rod with no health insurance because they couldn’t afford it after buying their vanity plate, remember this isn’t the only factor in the cost of our monthly health insurance tithing. This is just part of what the ACA was looking to address, something that government action could impact. Not everything falls into that category.

The workforce has become more mobile, contract and temporary work are rising, and most companies still require full-time employment to receive discounted health benefits (although we are beginning to see some exceptions). Over half of all Americans with insurance get it through the workplace, so a significant segment of the population isn’t seeing the benefit of getting a reduced premium through their employer. Even if the employer contribution is minimal, the employee already sees a lower cost because it’s offered at a group rate.

We’re also living longer. This is good news! (Yes, even you cars out there are putting some major mileage on the odometer).

But it does mean that we have more insurance claims to contend with, as many of us require more trips to the doctor in our golden years. Ironically, the preventative care model we’re all aiming for, the one that will result in fewer and less costly medical bills throughout our lives — the practice that can improve the day-to-day quality of our lives — also enables us to stick around and claim health insurance benefits longer.

And it’s not just a healthier appreciation of the impact of routine visits instead of only seeing a doctor when something is wrong that’s increased our life expectancy — advancements in medicine and pharmacology are also turning dire life events into mild discomforts at a growing rate. We haven’t cured everything yet, but medical science is operating on the assumption that we can. This carries a cost as well. So, while our lab work may be quicker and more accurate than ever, it’s also more expensive. But, again, this is a good thing!

But it does have an impact on our wallets.

Our ever-advancing medical prowess and general increases in the cost of doing business have impacted our medical providers. These days the solo practitioner with their own office and one bored administrative assistant is a rarity. Instead, you’re more likely to see groups of doctors banded together in one bustling medical practice to help defray operating costs. As those costs increase, so do provider rates, which in turn help to fuel premium increases.

There is a myriad of other factors driving the cost of health care and health insurance premiums. It’s a complicated problem, one that Obamacare and subsequent legislation (both enacted and still in process) aim to address. And while we still have a long way to go when it comes to addressing cost, what we are seeing is an improvement in choice.

Recent years have seen an explosion in what’s available to us on the healthcare market. Whether through our employer, our private insurance, or if we qualify for government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, or the ACA Healthcare Exchange, we have a wealth of options when we decide we want health insurance. We also have a wealth of specific coverage levels for each option. So if we have a specific health concern we want to be covered, we can find the exact plan. But to do so, we first must wade through everything available.

This can be a daunting task. If we’re already on the fence about whether we’re willing to pay a monthly premium or even think we can afford it, having a vast array of confusing choices to pick from is even less appealing. This is a good problem to have! Better too many options than not enough. All you need is someone to guide you, someone whose experience in the industry can help you make an informed decision about what’s right for you. The coverage you deserve and can afford is out there.

At the end of the day, good healthcare is about quality of life — something that increases when we take advantage of preventative care. Committing to routine checkups and screenings as a small but essential part of our lives is something we are much more likely to do if we have adequate health care insurance. But, of course, we can still get sick, we can still get injured, no matter how careful we are — and this is where being covered really kicks in.

Because you aren’t a car. (Sad trombone) You are human, and the damage to your front end could mean more than just an inconvenience. Having proper healthcare coverage ensures that getting the care you need won’t bankrupt you while providing you with the treatment you deserve. You don’t want that banged-up bumper causing issues for the rest of your life.

Contact us today at donotgouncovered.com, and let us help you navigate the choices you may not have even known were available to you. We know that coverage can be expensive — but having no coverage will almost certainly end up being more expensive. The best plan for you is out there, and we can help you find it.

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