The Truth About Health Care
Our healthcare system is about as stable as a diabetic’s insulin levels. Benefits are being cut, restrictions are being enforced, and insurance premiums seem to be rising faster than bread dough. Maybe the reason we’re anxious is because we know so little about why it cost so much. The question we need to be asking is why there’s so much mystery when it comes to the cost of medical care.
What We Know
You may not have noticed, but we lose more of our health insurance benefits as we Americans get sicker and more dependent on health care. The reason is simple math. For the system to work, we need to pay more into it then we get out of it. If I pay $1,200 a year for insurance and only use about $500 worth of services, companies can cover the cost of services and make a profit. If I pay the same amount but use $11,000 in services, then companies lose money. So, companies must continue to raise prices to meet the demand for care and still make a profit.
How did our health care system get so complicated? Corporate greed, blind consumerism, politics: it all played a role in getting us here. We are intentionally kept in the dark about billing, costs, networks, and coverage which makes the whole open enrollment period feel like a stab in the dark. Making the wrong choice can cost us thousands of dollars.
As a community, we need to start holding politicians accountable to the people they serve: us. Getting our laws changed means we need more lawmakers who prioritize people over profits. But in the meantime, educating yourself is the best way to protect your health and your money.
Knowing the truth about things really work, frees you from becoming a victim of the system. Blindly accepting what you’re told only sets you up to be taken advantage of. Information can change the way we think but it also influences our expectations.
The Scary Truth We Need to Know
Administrators Making More Money Than Doctors
Did you know that some hospital CEOs and administrators make an annual salary of $400,000? You may not realize it, but you help to pay their salary in the form of unjustified and insidious hospital charges on your bill. Like $25 for a box of tissues.
In her book, Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, surgeon and author Marty Makary MD, explains how surgeons are often pressured to do more operations and that over-treatment is incentivized in many hospitals.
A cautious, thorough physician who wants to play it safe may suggest costly x-rays, blood test, or unnecessary procedures to rack up charges. This is typically done under the guise of “ruling out” conditions for which you have no related symptoms.
There is no better evidence that we’re being bamboozled and over-charged than the cost of prescription medications here in the U.S. We pay up to 100 percent more for drugs than 33 other developed countries. We’re told that a free market gives us more options when in fact, it allows for a significant markup of life-saving drugs and treatments. Companies get to determine their prices no matter if it’s a life-saving drug.
Don’t be the blind consumer. Take the time to get educated. It could save you money and save your life. For more consumer tips on health care, get a copy of my guide, Taking Charge of Your Health Care: How to Work the System So it doesn’t Work You.