Straight Talk would normally come to you today, but instead we are eagerly watching the latest developments out of Washington, D.C., on the American Health Care Act.
Mike Bertaut talks with Jim Engster about the implications of the Trump Administration upon healthcare – especially the ACA. Listen:
One thing you learn if you work around insurance for a while is that instability and unpredictability drive everybody’s costs up. A lot. And it turns out it doesn’t matter if that’s car insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance or health insurance.
Note from Mike: I’m sifting through the information coming out about the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare and healthcare in a Trump presidency. I’ll be back soon to offer my take on it, but in the meantime, see this Q&A on what Blue Cross is doing right now.
In my last blog post, I gave details about how much rates for individual customers’ health insurance are going up next year and why. I promised do a future blog about not just how much premiums cost, but how much financial protection the federally-designed products for 2017 give the average customer. This may get a bit wonky, so please bear with me as you go through.
One thing I’ve learned after 55 years on this planet is that we all walk around every day with biases that color our decision making. Some of these biases can be safety-related (“I really don’t want that wild snake in my home, even though I can’t tell a poisonous one from a safe one!”) or designed to support sensible decision making (“I probably won’t give Jim any more work, since he keeps getting caught stealing from the company!”) or even beneficial to society (“Sure, I could dump these excess chemicals into that river with no idea what impact they would have on the environment, but it just feels wrong!”).
Health insurance companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana have a long history of trying to slow down the rapidly rising cost of healthcare. Over the years, a variety of strategies have emerged. Frankly, we’ve tried lots of stuff. When a company comes to us because their employee healthcare costs are going up too quickly, we try things like cutting out high-cost medical providers, steering people to less-expensive (but equally effective) drugs, raising out-of-pocket costs to discourage non-essential healthcare, and changing the mix between the employer contribution and the employee contribution.