Overall effect of Insurance on healthcare system
Insurance acts as intermediary between buyer and provider and has no incentive to provide a better price or higher quality. This is especially true in the movement from the medical model to the business model of health care. “The United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, in 2008 US healthcare costs were 2.3 trillion or 7,000 per capita. The US per capita cost is 45% greater than our northern neighbor Canada, and 33% greater than Norway”. (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2011). The business model is profit based. Requiring a profit almost always includes streamlining of services and mandating cost controls. Both of which limit the insured’s access to services, drugs, and new technology.
Insurance providers are also functionally fragmented. Private Insurers This fractionalization of insurance providers between a myriad of (66%), the Government (15%) and the Non-insured (15%) decrease the bargaining power in the business based model. Lowering costs to members is often achieved by limiting coverage to certain services and controlling costs. Conversely in Canada all citizens comprise one group and pharmaceutical prices are negotiated by the government. A significant price drop is achieved when compared to the fragmented US consumers. “Using only median US pharmacy prices, the US ordinary shopper would pay 44% more than the Canadian ordinary shopper” (Gooi and Bell, 2008, p.3) illustrating the benefits of the unfragmented group.
Gooi, M., & Bell, C. (2008). Differences in generic drug prices between the US and Canada. Applied Health Economics And Health Policy, 6(1), 19-26.
Kaiser Family Foundation, (n.d.). U.S. health care costs. Retrieved from http://www.kaiseredu.org/Issue-Modules/US-Health-Care-Costs/Background-Brief#footnotel
Miller, G. (2013). "The Best Health Care System in the World"?. Social Work, 58(2), 181-183. doi:10.1093/sw/swt002
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
(2011). OECD health data 2011-Frequently requested data. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/document/l6/0,3746,en_2649_37407_2085200_1_l_l_37407,00.html
Health Saving Account.
An HSA lets people put money from their paychecks into it (before it is taxed) to help pay for healthcare. To have HSA account first you have to have a health care insurance and met the required deductable.
You can even use these tax-free dollars to pay for expenses not covered by your High Deductible Health Plan, such as dental, vision and alternative medicines. Now you do have to have that other insurance claim to get an HSA. You have to have a high deductible health plan. For 2007, federal law requires that the deductible be at least 1100 for individual coverage or 2200 for a family (Video)
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-exempt saving account available only for individuals enrolled in a high deductible health plan. In my workplace, employees have a choice between BCBSTX Consumer’s Choice Plan, which is a high deductible plan, PPO I & PPO II. I have a PPO I Health plan and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts (DCRAs). DCRAs is a voluntary benefit that allow me to set aside pre-tax dollars from my paycheck to pay for certain dependent care expenses such as day care expense. I used DCRAs to pay my children day care expense. It is almost the same as HSA account, but you can only use it for dependent care related expenses. I have seen that my co-workers also benefited from having HSA account. My suggestion is, If you have a high deductible health plan and expecting major health care expenses such as surgery or procedure, it would be beneficial to enroll in HSA if you employer are provided to you. As we all know, having a minor procedure or surgery would cost you a high deductible. So, HSA would save you tax on the money that you used. In an Internet video, Female Speaker (2010)...
References: Shi, L & Singh, D. (2012). Delivering health care in America: A systems approach (5th Ed). Retrieved from University of Phoenix eBook Collection Database.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014). Proposed changes to the nutrition facts label. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm
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