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Top of Mind Issues for Health Insurance

PriceWaterhouseCooper issued a new report on top health care issues that at first glance shows their incredible grasp of the obvious.  Their lead issue is informing us that the economic downturn will effect health care.   They also let us know that prevention is on the rise and that the Internet may provide useful health information to end users.  As my daughter might say, “Duh.”

The study does go on to make a couple of points of real interest, such as that the problem of the under-insured may surpass the uninsured in our country.    I certainly appreciate their bringing that issue into the limelight, as many of my clients are going with higher and higher deductibles in order to keep their premiums within their budget.   I never dreamed that clients would consider a plan with a $7500 annual deductible plus coinsurance, but rising health insurance premiums have forced a few clients to take a hard look at that option.

They also say that direct to consumer genetic testing will become more popular as prices drop.   This concerns me as some people that come back with no genetic risk may delay purchasing health insurance or even a life insurance policy to protect their family.  Of course, genetic tests can’t be reliably counted on to predict killers like heart disease, much less a slip on the ice that can lead to well over a hundred thousand dollars for head injury treatment or death.

The study also reports the continuation of the trend for hospitals to get paid based upon performance, which at first seems reasonable but may hurt some hospitals in certain socio-economic areas.  We need to be sure this program doesn’t turn into another “No Child Left Behind” type program that is well intentioned, but makes it toughest on the hospitals with the biggest challenges and least financial resources to facilitate positive change.    You can read the full report here.

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