I recently noted that medical insurance reform is one of President Barack Obama’s “top priorities.” It seems that medical insurance reform has been a stated goal of the last four (or more) US presidents. I’ve often said that the real problem with healthcare resides not with the doctors, but with the lawyers (as well as sympathetic juries and greedy plaintiffs). It is lawsuits, the threat of lawsuits, and outrageous awards that are pushing up the cost of healthcare to untenable levels.
My response has been to seek to take control of my healthcare costs by taking an active role in treatment options. Just because a person wearing a white coat tells me I need a procedure, doesn’t mean I will comply. Don’t meekly say, “Yes,” but boldly ask, “Why?” Why do you recommend this? What is the cost? What is the benefit? What is the expected outcome? Too often, I suspect, the procedure is more for the doctors’ benefit than mine.
Towards this end, I have a high deductible insurance plan (meaning lower cost) and a tax-free health savings account (HSA) to cover the deductible. I recommend this for everyone who qualifies.
Of course, some of the proposed remediations include taxing my medical insurance and removing the tax-free aspect of my HSA. In response to this, I have facetiously said that once the new government plan is in place, I will cancel my insurance and use Uncle Sam’s option.
Right now, I am beginning to consider this more seriously. I just received notice that my medical insurance is going up 31%.