Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.
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Hospital and medical expense policies were introduced during the first half of the 20th century. During the 1920s, individual hospitals began offering services to individuals on a pre-paid basis, eventually leading to the development of Blue Cross organizations. The predecessors of today's Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) originated beginning in 1929, through the 1930s and on during World War II.
Before the development of medical expense insurance, patients were expected to pay health care costs out of their own pockets, under what is known as the fee-for-service business model. During the middle-to-late 20th century, traditional disability insurance evolved into modern health insurance programs. One major obstacle to this development was that early forms of comprehensive health insurance were enjoined by courts for violating the traditional ban on corporate practice of the professions by for-profit corporations. State legislatures had to intervene and expressly legalize health insurance as an exception to that traditional rule. Today, most comprehensive private health insurance programs cover the cost of routine, preventive, and emergency health care procedures, and most prescription drugs (but this is not always the case).
Co payments were introduced in the 1980s in an attempt to prevent over utilization. The average length of hospital stay in Germany has decreased in recent years from 14 days to 9 days, still considerably longer than average stays in the United States (5 to 6 days). Part of the difference is that the chief consideration for hospital reimbursement is the number of hospital days as opposed to procedures or diagnosis. Drug costs have increased substantially, rising nearly 60% from 1991 through 2005. Despite attempts to contain costs, overall health care expenditures rose to 10.7% of GDP in 2005, comparable to other western European nations, but substantially less than that spent in the U.S. (nearly 16% of GDP).
If you go on HealthCare.gov prior to that, you’ll have the option to create an account — complete with your personal data — and then log back into it between November 1 and December 15, when you’re ready to enroll in a plan. You’ll also be able to see what health insurance would have cost you in 2018 (including premium subsidies if you’re eligible for them), and see which insurers are offering plans in your area. In several states, additional insurers are joining the exchanges for 2019 though, so you may see more options available once the 2019 rates are loaded into the system. That typically happens around October 25 on HealthCare.gov.
Employers and employees may have some choice in the details of plans, including health savings accounts, deductible, and coinsurance. As of 2015, a trend has emerged for employers to offer high-deductible plans, called consumer-driven healthcare plans which place more costs on employees; some employers will offer multiple plans to their employees.
Private health care has continued parallel to the NHS, paid for largely by private insurance, but it is used by less than 8% of the population, and generally as a top-up to NHS services. There are many treatments that the private sector does not provide. For example, health insurance on pregnancy is generally not covered or covered with restricting clauses. Typical exclusions for Bupa schemes (and many other insurers) include:
Insurance companies are not allowed to have co-payments, caps, or deductibles, or to deny coverage to any person applying for a policy, or to charge anything other than their nationally set and published standard premiums. Therefore, every person buying insurance will pay the same price as everyone else buying the same policy, and every person will get at least the minimum level of coverage.
AARP, the nation's largest advocate for older Americans, used 2018 marketplace premiums to calculate what that would mean for 60-year-olds who buy a silver plan — the second-lowest cost option — through an ACA exchange. Under that scenario, the average yearly premium increase would be $2,000, although the range would be about $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the state.
I do mention in my commentary at the end of the post (and comments beneath the post) that health sharing ministries are an option we’ll be exploring. It wasn’t detailed because that’s a current option and has been for many years. This post was written to highlight new options made possible by the recent Tax Reform. Kitces just published a great overview of the four biggest health sharing ministries. I like ESI Money’s post, as well.
Without digging into the nuances of Medicare Part D, I believe there are out of pocket maxes (similar to out of pocket maxes in commercial insurance plans). But you are right, these are not insignificant sums (~$5k – $10K). This is most definitely on my mind when it comes to retiring early and why I, not unlike PoF, am looking to “FatFIRE” to ensure I have plenty of cushion to cover these out of pocket maxes if I were to need to do so annually. This could come from my “retirement cushion”, cut back on vacay, or I may choose to do a little part-time work to help cover costs if something came up. Thanks for raising this important point and consideration!
That’s great, Accidental FIRE. Always good to be aware of options. As far as Aetna goes, I think that is a great place to get coverage through. I’m looking forward to seeing what the combo with CVS will evolve into (I’m picturing expanded roles for minuteclinics, etc) which may provide better options for quality and efficient care at affordable prices. We’ll see.
In context of global population aging, with increasing numbers of older adults at greater risk of chronic non-communicable diseases, rapidly increasing demand for primary care services is expected in both developed and developing countries. The World Health Organization attributes the provision of essential primary care as an integral component of an inclusive primary health care strategy.
Given the premium increases ahead for 2019, it’s essential for anyone who is eligible for premium tax credits – or who might be eligible with an income fluctuation later in the year – to enroll through the exchange if and when they have a special enrollment period. Don’t sign up for an off-exchange plan and miss out on the possibility of much more affordable premiums via a tax credit.