Letter to the Register Guard, NOVEMBER 28, 2015
by CAROL YARBROUGH, Eugene
It’s open enrollment time again. Isn’t choice great? I can choose a health care insurance plan with a lower premium but higher deductible, or vice versa.
Based on my anticipated health needs in the coming year, I can choose a plan that covers urgent care but not emergency room, covers chemotherapy, but only part of a brain surgery.
But how do I know what my medical needs will be in the next 12 months? What if I fall off a ladder cleaning my gutters and have to go to the emergency room, and then need weekly physical therapy — with a $5,000 deductible in 2015 and again in 2016?
Insurance companies profit when revenue from premiums exceeds payment for care. It works pretty well for cars, but is that model really contributing to our good health? I can choose not to get my bumper repaired, but maybe I shouldn’t skip the physical therapy and hope it gets better on its own.
Medicare has been providing health care payment services to people over 65 for 50 years. It isn’t perfect, but Americans who use it are pretty happy with it.
If Medicare were expanded to cover everyone, from birth to death, with supplemental policies available (as they are now), our country would have a much more democratic health care insurance system — one in which the rules are the same for everyone and employers would no longer have to worry whether their employees have adequate health care.