Friday, July 02, 2010

Would You Buy Health Insurance From This Man? [UPDATED]

Would you buy health insurance from this man?

Here's the deal:

The long awaited Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (P-crap) has arrived. Well, almost . . .

You do not know what your benefits will be.

Obama says, no problem. Trust me.

You do not know what the rates will be.

No problem, trust me.

You do not know when or if you will be accepted.

No problem, trust me.

You do not know how long before the $5 billion allocated to this program will last and if more money will be made available or it will end like Cash 4 Clunkers.

No problem, trust me.

Taxpayer money has already been allocated by state. Once the money runs out new entrants will be put on a waiting list.

No problem, trust me.

If you are lucky enough to be granted admission to the pool, and can afford to pay the subsidized premium, there is no guarantee your doctor will be willing to treat you.*

No problem, trust me.

So if you apply in time, and if you are accepted into a plan where benefits and premiums are not disclosed, and if you can afford the premiums you could end up paying for coverage that is not worth the paper on which it is printed.

*Few details have emerged but in the planning stages consideration was given to reimbursement rates for providers. The consensus at the time was to follow Medicare DRG billing practices. In many cases, Medicare reimburses physicians and hospitals at a rate that is 20-30% less than what health insurance companies pay. While it is true that well over 90% of hospitals and docs accept Medicare assignment, most limit the number of Medicare patients they are willing to treat.

Medicare patients already face challenges finding a doctor that is willing to accept them as a new patient. One can only imagine the same will be true when newly covered participants flood the market with their PCIP cards in hand.

With an estimated 32 million uninsured individuals that could qualify for PCIP, if even 5% of those are accepted into the plan not only will this break the $5 billion bank but will lead to queues for medical services.

UPATE [HGS]: Piling on, as it were, to Bob's excellent take-down of "P-crap," this just in:

"Emergency rooms, the only choice for patients who can't find care elsewhere, may grow even more crowded with longer wait times under the nation's new health law ... That might come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32 million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER crowding."

But - as Bob's already pointed out - this is unlikely to be the case. So what's the real bottleneck? Regular readers won't be the least bit surprised:

"The biggest users of emergency rooms by far are Medicaid recipients. And the new health insurance law will increase their ranks by about 16 million."

Ah, that darned ol' Law of Un(?)intended Consequences. Try not to break it.
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