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What Can We Expect from Healthcare Reform?

Rajesh Jyotishi Email Rajesh Jyotishi
September 2009
What Can We Expect from Healthcare Reform?

When most people think of healthcare reform, they think primarily of health insurance plans that may be partially funded by the government. But there are actually several important conversations happening simultaneously that have to be addressed. Each issue in itself is a very complicated one, needing serious discussion. When we combine all of these issues at the same time, it makes for a heated debate as we have witnessed in the news.

Three Primary Issues

First: The issue insurance aspect. If there is a form of a national health plan, who will pay for it? How much can the Government afford to pay? As of today, our national deficit has hit new lows of $1.27 trillion. That is $1.27 plus 10 zeros after it! This obviously raises a lot of concern in many. Is this the best time for the Government to get involved in additional expenses?

Second: How to manage healthcare costs. Medical inflation is rising at a much higher rate than our normal inflation. Part of the bill is trying to regulate how the doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can be regulated to slow down the rate of medical inflation. This has provoked a lot of opposition from the medical community.

Third: Who will be covered? Will insurance companies be required to cover everyone without regard to pre-existing conditions? Will employers be forced to pay for health insurance expenses? Will new immigrants who are not U. S. citizens or permanent green card holders be able to get health insurance with all pre-existing conditions covered from day one, even if they haven’t had prior health insurance? Pretty complicated questions, wouldn’t you agree?

The Obama healthcare reform bill that has been presented has about 500 pages. You can only imagine the complexity of the legal language. Currently, we have an estimated 40 million people without health insurance in America. If you have been paying for your own health insurance, you already have seen how the insurance premiums have been rising for many years.

Here’s a thought for you. If you apply the Rule of 72 for health insurance and let’s assume a 12 percent rate increase per year, your health insurance rates will double every six years. So if you are paying hypothetically $500 per month, in six years it would be $1000 a month and in another six years it would be $2000 every month and so on. It’s pretty scary, isn’t it?   

What I Think Healthcare Reform Will Look Like

I believe that if the healthcare reform bill goes through, and if we have any form of Government-subsidized plan, it will be similar to the current Medicare plans we have today.

We may not have three parts like our current Medicare health plans, but in all probability, there will be a need for supplemental health insurance to fill some of the gaps that most likely will be there.

Current Medicare Health Plans Arrangement

Our current Medicare health plans consist of three parts.

Part A, which is for hospital coverage and is free to eligible individuals. The main eligibility requirements are that a person be a legal resident and have worked in this country for at least 10 years or 40 quarters. There are options to purchase Medicare Part A from the Government after five years of continuous stay.

Part B, which covers doctors and miscellaneous benefits. This is an optional benefit that you can enroll in and for which you have to pay $96.40 a month. The premiums rise every year based on medical inflation.

Part C, which comprises supplemental health plans including Medicare advantage plans, private fee for service and PPO plans that are offered through private health insurance companies.

Part D, which covers prescription benefits that you also have to pay. The premiums can vary depending upon the plan you choose.

I believe healthcare reform is necessary for the reasons mentioned above. I also believe that most Americans will have a wide variety of supplemental health plans they will be able to choose from that fits their needs. I don’t believe that you will be covered 100 percent with nothing from your pocket. That just doesn’t seem possible with the current state of our national deficit and issues at hand.

It will be interesting to see how this whole thing develops and what emerges finally. I just hope they think through the various issues and actually “read and understand” the entire bill before they sign it.   

Download the new mini e-book, “7 Pitfalls of Health Insurance in Georgia and How to Avoid Them,” by Rajesh Jyotishi, at www.GeorgiaHealthBenefits.com, a Web site dedicated to help you understand health insurance in Georgia and how you can manage your health insurance expenses.

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