Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Much ado about ... A rounding error?

Despite ample evidence to the contrary, I really don't relish playing the role of naysayer. But when  folks who should know better deceptively suggest that a particular "solution" is having a major impact on health care delivery and financing, well, I think it's important to offer perspective.

What in the heck are you babbling on about, Henry?

Glad you asked. This:

"Why health care sharing ministry memberships now top 1 million"

I beg your pardon?

In a country of about 326 million, this is barely a rounding error. So why is this "news?"

Look, I'm a fan of sharing ministries (up to a point): they're a low cost, ACA-compliant alternative to ObamaPlans, and they encourage lifestyles and behaviors that promote good health. And I like that they're not network-driven, meaning pretty much complete freedom to actually "keep your doctor."

But there's also no backstop: that is, there's nothing to force the organization to actually pay the bills, or accept someone with pre-existing conditions. And for catastrophic claims, well, those can be problematic:

"[T]hough they set aside a slightly larger amount as part of an optional agreement to help other members facing catastrophic needs." [emphasis added]

Do I think they have a place? Of course: it's not like ObamaPlans are any great deal, either. And I'm glad that they serve the needs of (many) of those who participate, FoIB Thomas L, for example:

"So far so good on all things Samaritan.  All current expenses are already paid, the money for the obgyn is pre-paid to the clinic (which for whatever reason they hold in escrow), and the money for the hospital’s delivery estimate I have in a separate account ready to go."

But to pretend that sharing ministries are some unstoppable, substantial force with which to be reckoned? No.
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