Wednesday, May 23, 2012

About Those Exchanges

The folks in la-la land are at it again, doing everything in their power to make sure no one in the Republik of Kalifornia has affordable health insurance. In an attempt to get the jump on health insurance exchanges the gummint is using "focus groups" to get an idea of what Kalifornian's want and expect from a health insurance exchange.
Many uninsured California residents think buying health coverage through a new health insurance exchange, or Web-based insurance market, would be cheaper than buying coverage through a broker.
Asking uninsured folks their opinion on something they don't own and perhaps have never bought is about like asking a man to describe childbirth.                 

Apparently the participants in this focus group never considered that an exchange will have overhead, salaries and probably benefits that are factored in to the cost of health insurance. These are the same folks that believe they can get a lower rate by purchasing direct from a carrier.
Researchers talked to a total of 36 uninsured California residents ages 18 to 44 who intend to use the California exchange.
Well that is certainly a large sample. I would think it would be fairly easy to find considerably more than 36 folks living on the dole that would be glad to participate in a survey. Just this last weekend while riding on mass transit to the airport I overheard a couple of people who were comparing notes on how to get paid by focus groups. One person said she got $75 just for tasting chocolate.

How hard is that?

And, "You don't have to report it to the government so they won't reduce your check".
"Some participants reported having shopped for insurance in the past either through their employer or by using a broker, insurance company website, or going to a local social service office," Bye writes in the focus group report. "Most preferred to shop on the Web as opposed to through brokers (who they viewed as expensive middlemen) or social service offices."
Expensive middlemen. Of course Social Workers not only volunteer their time and services (so no need to pay them) but they are infinitely well versed in insurance contracts.

Participants said they think the exchange will encourage plans to lower their prices and help consumers avoid paying broker fees, and decrease the amount of paperwork consumers must fill out.
The participants said they want to shop "at their own pace without pressure from salespeople."
There are those expensive broker fee's again . . .
I have a website and offer visitors the chance to run their own rates and even apply "direct" with the carrier if they choose. After several years of doing this, I can tell you about half never get around to completing the application. Roughly 70% of those that do submit an application are rejected due to health issues.
Quite a few pick plans that do not cover prescription drugs.
When asked about coverage affordability, the focus group participants said they might be able to afford $25 to $50 per month for individual coverage and $100 to $150 per month for family coverage.
I think it is becoming quite clear why these folks are uninsured. They seem to think you can buy health insurance for less than you pay your cable company each month.

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