Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rethinking Mini-Meds

[Welcome Kaiser Health readers!]

I have a theory about how ObamaCare© will eventually come to "work" in the Real World:

Mini-med (aka "limited benefit" plans) will become "supplements" (much like MediGap plans) for folks sophisticated enough to use them that way.

Only suckers and those eligible for subsidies will buy the exorbitantly priced health insurance plans that will become the norm under ObamaCare©. Thoughtful people will do the math, concluding that paying the non-compliance tax is much cheaper than paying premiums. Mini-meds will be "just what the doctor ordered" for non-acute care. If and/or when there's a major claim, then time to buy a "real" medical plan (since they'll be guaranteed issue with no exclusions for pre-existing conditions).

There's another factor, as well. If (as seems likely) a significant number of physicians decide to "Go Galt," there'll be a substantial uptick in medical tourism. At least one mini-med vendor's offering has a built-in benefit to help pay for this; I suspect others will follow suit.

No one ever called Harry, Barry and Nan rocket surgeons.
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