Saturday, November 30, 2013

Informed Choice Needs More Than a Website

President Obama recently said, “Buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on iTunes. You know, it’s just a much more complicated transaction.” Academic research bears this out: low-income patients who were given a choice of health insurance plans were less likely to sign up for any of them than were patients who only had one option. To quote Sabrina (from the movie of the same name), "Sometimes more isn't better, Linus. Sometimes it's just more."

Except that usually more is better--it just takes more time and effort to figure out the best choice. That's how insurance agents and brokers make their living. They can save the average consumer enough money picking the right plan to pay their own insurance--and mortgage, taxes, and children's tuition through college.  Choice is better, but helping people choose is a full-time job.

Healthcare sharing ministries ("healthshares") are a great healthcare choice for Christian families, but that doesn't mean that the average Christian family is ready to make that choice. This blog exists to learn how to connect people with questions to people with answers.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Is Self-Pay Better Than Medicaid?

If a person near the poverty line can afford to pay a doctor out of pocket, they may be better off not showing their Medicaid card. According to the New York Times, Medicaid Growth Could Aggravate Doctor Shortage. That is because existing doctors are expected to treat a growing number patients for a shrinking amount of money per visit.
In California, with the nation’s largest Medicaid population, many doctors say they are already overwhelmed and are unable to take on more low-income patients. Dr. Hector Flores, a primary care doctor in East Los Angeles whose practice has 26,000 patients, more than a third of whom are on Medicaid, said he could accommodate an additional 1,000 Medicaid patients at most...
Payment rates for Medicaid, known in California as Medi-Cal, are also low here compared with most states, and are being cut by an additional 10 percent in some cases just as the expansion begins.
Americans who qualify for Medicaid under the newly-expanded rules aren't eligible for subsidies on the new Obamacare exchanges, making it easier for many working-class Americans to get health insurance at the same time that it makes it harder for them to get health care.

A growing number of citizens are learning creative ways to pay their own bills, as Sean Parnell explains at I'll be eager to learn what Sean says about hiding your Medicaid card from your doctor!