Amid the coronavirus epidemic, many of us have been living in fear of needing health care. For some, it’s due to the risk of catching COVID-19 during a doctor’s office or hospital visit; for others, it’s because of how expensive health care is. These days, all it takes is one surprise medical bill to send a patient into bankruptcy.
The United States’ health care system operates differently from many others in the world, with high costs for the individual as a main, distinguishing characteristic. In fact, the higher prices mean the U.S. spends more on health care than other “developed countries,” a 2019 Johns Hopkins report found.
What’s more, almost one in three Americans worries about affording health care, according to a February 2020 survey from NBC News. (Just recently, a man who was hospitalized with COVID-19 for 62 days received a $1.1 million medical bill.)
Insurance is designed for sudden expensive exposure that most of us cannot afford. If you look at those words again: sudden and expensive. It does not spell out the predictable and affordable. For years though, we had someone with the bigger purse paying the bills. Most of us had very little to pay out-of-pocket for any of our own medical expenses. At least until now.
It’s common knowledge that those who have more money tend to have more to spend without question. Insurance companies are not any different; they are the ones with the bigger purse. Medical providers know this as well. Over the last 50-60 years, the providers increased their prices to see what they can get away with, at the same time the insurance companies were negotiating for bigger discounts. This is how healthcare became big business. The insurance companies fronted this cost, and now we have to … Read More