I’m sitting here, right now, watching the Democratic National Convention on BBC Parliament channel. I’ve sat through Michelle Obama, some General Motors workers, some people I know and some people I have never heard of. But one thing has stuck with me in the nearly two hours I have been watching.
One of the Democrats said that under ObamaCare, if an insurer does not spend at least 50% of the customer’s premium on the customer (I use the word customer, not them), then they receive a cheque back. I do not know how much the cheque would be, maybe the remainder of the 50% that should have been spent on them, or the rest of their premium, but on the face of it, I see this as a damn good idea.
However, after a quick think,and a talk with W, we came to the conclusion that this may not actually be as good as it seems.
See, getting some of your money back is good for YOU, but NOT for business. Therefore, the companies will want to make sure they do not directly give you any money back. They would make sure they hit the 50% target, by sending you for regular checkups. All well and good, we all know that the earlier illnesses are found, the easier they are to treat. So, say your health insurer sends you for regular checkups, once every two months, to somewhere approved by them. Maybe, even, OWNED by them. So they pay themselves. With your money.
And if something is found, and you do turn out to be ill? They will raise your premium for the next year, just so they can pay themselves even more of your money, by sending you to an ‘approved’ hospital. Or, here is a possibility, what if they refuse to renew it next year, citing ‘pre-existing conditions’?
I’ve tried doing some research on this, but to no avail. I did find this quote though, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/health-insurance-companie_n_1455727.html –
Insurance companies can issue rebate checks or deduct the money from future bills, but employers who provide health benefits to workers will often pocket the money, rather than the employees.
Which is a nice way of keeping money in the system. Somewhere. As everyone knows, a credit note is WAY better than a refund.
Can someone help me with some of these questions?
1. If you are found to be ill, can they increase your premium, and by how much?
2. How does the 50% rebate work, do you get all of the money back, or is it 50% minus the amount spent?
3. Can they refuse to renew it if you were receiving treatment for something and they actually HAD to provide you a service?
I’m SO glad we have the NHS.