Saturday, October 17, 2009

Community Health Plan

There are ways to use health coverage plans themselves to lower costs, add to competition, but leave the government out of directly offering these health plans. My design is called the Community Health Plan. I have been working on these for sometime, and while I am going to leave most of the specific details for the book, I believe i can outline the workings and advantages here. The plan would be anchored by a local full service hospital. Preferably it would be the local hospital that was already providing most of the services to the uninsured for that given community. They would offer a subscription plan for a very affordable price. The pricing would look something like one third the monthly going rate for health insurance in the same area. A small part of the fee would go to a reinsurance pool to cover health care needs when traveling away from the hospital locale, and another part would apply towards a government subsidized umbrella policy to cover unexpectedly large outlays or catastrophic illnesses. The rest of the monthly fee would go directly to the hospital system offering the plan, providing them much needed cash flow and some contribution towards the cost of caring for these people. The government would provide funds to help support these plans in the way they provide funds now to hospitals serving the uninsured, but with an anticipated reduction in these amounts. If people see the plans are a good fit and value, enough of the public will subscribe to potentially erase any deficits these hospitals use to face from caring for the uninsured. Since the government would provide guarantees for the reinsurance umbrella policies, these could be offered by traditional insurers. To encourage people to purchase plans including these, seek out care earlier and take preventative health measures, the current 7.5% floor before these expenses are deductible would be removed from the tax code. This limit was imposed during the Reagan administration and only hurt the middle class because they are the ones who will base health care decisions on costs. the rich can afford the care, the poor have government coverage, the working poor and illegal uninsured s simply do without the care. Now, everyone from working poor to middle class could afford a good plan, and would have the government helping them afford to purchase it and receive care. By offering all of this, at least it would be a more fair and reasonable proposition that the current health reform plan does not include an affordable government option, does not require employers to offer coverage and requires a fine for people who do not purchase coverage.


Bruce said...

Interesting. Currently, each state funds "Charity Care" thru, often minimal, payments to hospitals for [required] minimal care for the indigent.

No one is particularly happy with the current situation. Thus, your proposal is compelling.

LHwrites said...

This plan, which I should have mentioned in the post, though it may be obvious, would provide a steady stream of "premium-like" income to the actual hospitals treating those who used to be uninsured. I think this would be a great thing for those hospitals.