Monday, August 31, 2015

Your money or your life?

It's estimated that Medicare spends almost $170 billion each year on beneficiaries' last 6 months of life. There's no question that end-of-life care costs a lot of money. There's also no question that there's no easy "fix." Heck, Britain's Much Vaunted National Health System© had to ditch its infamous Liverpool Pathway program.

But the issue hasn't gone away, and the questions - moral, ethical, financial - still remain.

FoIB Holly R sent in this rather intriguing possibility:

"Why don’t health insurance companies offer bonuses to patients who are willing to forego standard end-of-life medical care?  When a patient receives a terminal diagnosis, I have to believe that the [insurance] companies have actuaries and data sets that would give them guidance on what the next 6-24 months of medical care would cost."

Well, we already have a pretty good idea of how much that might be (almost $80,000, by one estimate). So what if Humana or UHC or whomever offered their terminally ill clients a check for, say $50,000 in exchange for a release from additional liability for medical expenses?

Note that this would be entirely voluntary, and probably taxable. But here's a way for that person to perhaps check off just a few more bucket-list items, for example.

Interesting idea, no?
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