Sky-High Deductibles Broke the U.S. Health Insurance System

Employers are questioning a system they say costs patients too much.

It’s a reality for a growing share of Americans. Today, 39% of large employers offer only high-deductible plans, up from 7% in 2009, according to a survey by the National Business Group on Health. Half of all workers now have health insurance with a deductible of at least $1,000 for an individual, up from 22% in 2009, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 41% say they can’t pay a $400 emergency expense without borrowing or selling something, according to the Federal Reserve. The bottom line: People simply can’t afford to get sick.

How the U.S. insurance system came to stick its customers with increasingly onerous medical bills is a 15-year long story of miscalculations and missed opportunities. It started in 2003 when President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans passed a change to the tax code that encouraged employers to experiment with high-deductible plans, which ask patients to pay out of pocket for care – sometimes thousands of dollars – before insurance coverage kicks in. The trend got a push when the financial crisis hit: As the economy stalled and employers shed 9 million jobs over the arrival of Obamacare in 2010. Millions who were previously uninsured could now get coverage, but many of them took on deductibles of $1,000 or higher.

High-deductible plans do reduce healthcare costs, but they don’t seem to be doing it in smart ways, say Neeraj Sood, Director of Research at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California. The health industry is taking notice that families are going bankrupt to pay medical bills with high deductibles. About 5 years ago, CVS switched all of its 200,000 employees and their families to health insurance plans with high deductibles. As the company pushed more costs onto employees, they stopped taking their medications. Families simply reduced the amount of medical care they used, including preventative care. In high-deductible plans, women are more likely to delay follow-up tests after mammograms, including imaging, biopsies and early-stage diagnoses that could detect tumors when they’re easiest to treat, according to research in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

It should be noted that health insurance companies’ stock prices, not to mention industry executives salaries, were both soaring, while the thousands of dollars in premiums the families are paying, protected neither their family’s health or finances. Many insurance companies are pulling out of California now, and Obama Care is imploding, so we will have fewer choices. Until then we will have higher deductibles, more people going to the emergency room for things they should have seen a doctor for, and people not buying their medications, because they simply cannot afford them. Is this a good long term approach?

 

“A Way to Save Money” Check out CalAble Accounts

CalABLE is a tax-advantaged savings program for people with disabilities.

A CalAble account allows anyone who became disabled before age 26 to save up to $15,000 a year without having that money count against the $2,000 asset limit for means-tested programs like SSI and Medicaid.

In the last year we have been busy in Sacramento creating and pushing thru bills to help people with disabilities to have a CalAble account, to also save for their future. We have gotten bills passed so Medi-cal cannot recover funds from the account. Also passed was a bill that the CalABLE accounts are a federal program, so everyone in the United States who is eligible can access to this program, which make a larger pool, which in turn lowers the admin fees. Now we are working on a bill that makes it easy for a person to make tax deductible donations into the account.

Right now the CalABLE account has a limit of $100,000, so we would like to see this limit raised, or that you are allowed to have multiple CalABLE accounts.

Currently the CalAble Team is working with vendors to work out who will run and administer this program for California. This provides people with disabilities the foundation to save money for their future, and medical expenses.

If you have any questions, please contact the CalABLE Staff at calable@treasurer.ca.gov

http://treasurer.ca.gov/able/meeting/index.asp

 

 

 

The Simple Dollar – Disability Guide

Please welcome The Simple Dollar to our listing of Special Needs Resources Listing. Did you know research found that most people who have become or already living with disabilities are not fully aware of the benefits and resources that are available to them. This guide will not only answer common questions like qualifications, but also the application process, as well as it provides a calculator that can help estimate monthly and annual benefits. Please find their information and website details on the Neglia Collaboration Special Needs Resource Listing.

Medical MalPractice Center

Please welcome the Medical MalPractice Center to our caring list of providers, for parents to take advantage and educate themselves about medical malpractice. Did you know that Medical MalPractice is the leading cause of Death in the U.S? MalPractice can happen when we least expect it, and comes in many serious forms, and can endanger the life of a patient, and medical bills can sky rocket while you try to help the patient. Educate yourself on possible signs of malpractice and neglect. Find out more about the Medical MalPractice Center, visit the Special Needs Resources Section of Neglia Collaboration.

Tyler Graduated with his Diploma from High School

So proud of Tyler working so hard to graduate high school with a diploma. With the hard work of the Special Ed teachers at his school and the San Diego Regional Center, Tyler is going to Community College this fall! Over the last few months Tyler did interviews with the San Diego Regional Center for their Program called College 2 Career C2C program. They only take 20 people in a year. Tyler made it..so he is moving to the next big phase in his life!! So proud of him. We are working with the San Diego Regional Center, so Tyler will also be supported at college with the Tailored Day Program. It is one on one support 7 to 8 hours per week. Incredible program and services. Check out the San Diego Regional Center and the programs they offer!

Diploma or Certificate Bound Student

As my son Tyler is 18 now, and is a Senior in high school, we weren’t really sure if he was going to be certificate or diploma bound. As our children learn, were aren’t always sure how they will growth, build confidence and which path they will take. Through out Tyler’s high school, we have made sure to work closely with his Program Specialist, and the IEP team (from the school district), to understand all the options (credits needed to graduate) and services available. I have also made sure a representative from the Regional Center attended each of Tyler’s IEP meetings, so both Service providers were involved every step of the way.

For example if Tyler leaves school with a Certificate, then he will stay in the school district until he is 22 years of age, and be eligible for the Adult Transition Program Services.  If Tyler graduates with a Diploma, then he is fully exited out of the Unified School District and their services end. Hence, I made sure a few years ago, to learn about the San Diego Regional Center, and the services they provide, for students that have graduated with a Diploma. I made sure to do all the paperwork and interviews, and had Tyler’s case reviewed by the Regional Center and approved for their services. So upon graduation with a Diploma, we will work with the Regional Center case worker to create a personalized plan for Tyler, that will incorporate, community college, life skills, and job coaching etc.

We are very excited that Tyler worked so hard, to accomplish this huge feat in his life. He is proud of himself, and positive for what the future will hold. He is driven to graduate and transition to the next big step in life, college!! For more information on the San Diego Regional Center, please go to my listing of Parent Resources.

 

Cord Blood Center

Please welcome Cord Blood Bank as the latest parent resource, on the Special Needs Resource Listing. Cord Blood Center is a new organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of public cord blood banking. Umbilical cord blood has helped children survive over 80 diseases and disabilities including leukemia, spinal cord injury, anemia, autism and is now in FDA regulated clinical trials at Georgia Regents University for cerebral palsy. Cord Blood Center’s  mission is to help promote the benefits of cord blood to help communities around the country better understand how they can benefit and help save lives of children in need.

The team at cord blood banking, provides the latest up-to-date information and free resources for expecting parents. There has been over 35,000 cord blood transplants thanks to donors worldwide. With more awareness we can increase that number and further save lives of children suffering from cancers, blood disorders and many other serious disorders and disabilities including cerebral palsy.

For further information please contact,
The Cord Blood Center
Katie Wilson
Awareness Advocate
1888 780 2885
katie@cordbloodbanking.com