Do I Have to Pay for the Covid 19 Vaccine?

The short answer to the question as to whether you have to pay for the Covid-19 vaccine is no, according to the CDC website on the vaccine. The federal government, which paid for the development of the vaccines either directly or by promising to pay for their production, is providing shots free of charge. The idea is that the sooner people get the vaccine, the sooner the United States can achieve “herd immunity,” in which transmission of the virus is suppressed because so many people have been rendered immune. Then people can return to normal life without risk of sickness or death, something that the federal government has determined is well worth paying many billions of dollars to achieve.

Do I Have to Pay for the Covid 19 Vaccine?

In other words, you can make an appointment at any pharmacy or designated vaccination site and then walk in and receive your shot without cost. All you will have to do is to fill out some paperwork. You will get your shot regardless of your insurance status. You will not be charged for an office visit or anything else unless you request further healthcare services, which will be billed as appropriate.

The CDC site has some more information that should be transparent to you. You may be asked for your insurance or other healthcare provider information so that the provider of the vaccine can bill them for a portion of the cost. However, you will pay no out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine.

Therefore, the Covid-19 vaccine will be the best healthcare deal you will likely be offered. When you get your shots, either the two required by Pfizer or Moderna or the one by Johnson and Johnson, you may feel some minor side effects. But rest assure any fatigue or fever you might experience will pale in comparison to what might await you if you get Covid-19. In other words, getting the shot costs nothing and will impart peace of mind and protection against the deadliest pandemic in a hundred years.

For more information contact us

8 Questions and Answers… What to Know When Considering a New Doctor

8 Questions and Answers…

What to Know When Considering a New Doctor

What to Know When Considering a New Doctor. Eight answers from a practicing physician. 

May 11, 2021 – What should anyone know or ask when considering a new doctor or primary care physician? On his regular podcast, Dr. Steven Goldstein, founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative tells his listeners what to know and ask when considering a move and why we all even need our own primary care physician. Below is a list of questions and Dr. Goldstein’s answers to them.

Where to Listen

To hear the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast, visit one of the following: :  Apple Podcasts, LibSyn, Spotify, Radio.Com, Listen Notes, iHeart Radio, Podcast Addict, Podbay, Backtracks, Player FM, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

Questions and Answers

  1. Why is choosing a regular or primary care doctor such a big deal?

“If you don’t have a regular or primary care doctor, you could be missing out on a very important relationship with someone in a position to help you stay healthy and live the best life possible.  Over time, a regular or primary care doctor learns all about you and your history. So, choosing one is very important and the right time to find one is when you do not need one for any type of immediate care.”

  1. A regular primary care physician knows us, which is good. But what other reasons are there to have one?

“People with primary care doctors are more likely to get preventive services, including cancer screenings, and report significantly better health care access. According to the Journal of American Medicine, Americans with primary care doctors received significantly more high-value care and reported significantly better health care access and experience. Patients in states that spend more on primary care have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits. So, there is no doubt that a regular or primary care physician is an important part of anyone’s health and well-being.”

  1. How does one go about finding a primary care doctor?

“Make sure that the doctor you choose or consider, offers easy access – either by phone, email, telemedicine visit, or office visit. You should shop the price and accessibility in advance so that you are not desperate when a health issue arises. An alternative is to identify a doctor hotline to call in an emergency.”

  1. How does the patient know if he/she can afford care and what is the best way to pay?

“When you make an appointment with a new doctor, ask what the cash price for your initial visit will be and ask to compare it to the discounted price your insurance company has negotiated. You may need to speak to the billing office or the office manager to find this out. A common answer is that it depends on the complexity of your problem. When you hear this ask, ‘can you give me a range from a routine to a complex visit? Can you also tell me what my insurance allows?’ If you have the temperament, you can also try to negotiate a cash price. If you are treated poorly or they refuse to give you this information, find another doctor.”

  1. What should a new patient expect on their initial visit?

“When you first arrive, you will be greeted by a receptionist and given multiple forms to complete in the waiting room. Make sure when you come to the ‘consent for treatment’ form you are not agreeing to any test the doctor orders, but you reserve the right to accept or refuse any test in advance. Then you will be escorted to a room where a medical assistant will record your symptoms, take your vital signs and depending on the doctor’s specialty might wish to perform ‘routine’ tests. You can feel free to question the reason for these tests and have a perfect right to refuse them if you do not understand.”

  1. So, some tests are not really needed?

“Precisely. But it is not because anyone is being dishonest. According to a study in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, the top two reasons doctors ordered tests was fear of missing something that would help them diagnose their patients, and protection against malpractice. The authors of that survey also say that nearly all of the emergency room doctors—97%—admitted to personally ordering unnecessary imaging tests.”

  1. It’s easy for people to be intimidated by their doctor and not be keen to pose questions. So, to help get us started what should we ask?

“You can ask how the doctor arrived at the diagnosis. You can ask if doing any of the tests ordered will affect his treatment plan and are there alternative ways of arriving at the diagnosis. You can ask about the prognosis and what to expect from treatment including possible side effects and what to expect if the condition is untreated. At the end, send yourself another text when the doctor leaves the room. This will document the time the doctor spent with you and this information can be useful to be sure you are not overcharged, your time with the doctor was adequate and a good value.”

  1. I know my primary care doctor has some lab testing capability in his office and others also have x-ray machines. The convenience notwithstanding, are we obligated to do the tests where the doctor sends us?

“No. There is no need to get testing done at the doctor’s office

or at a facility recommended by the doctor. These prices are almost always better at an independent facility and are usually much better than the insurance company discounted price. Your objective is to be as healthy as possible. But no one should have to go broke in the process.”

More Than Just Another Doctor

A primary care physician is more than just a doctor. Over time, he or she learns the nuances of their patients’ medical history, reaction to medications, health goals, lifestyle, treatment preferences and whether or not a caregiver is supporting you in managing the individual’s health. Nothing is more personal. Paying for it is also personal. The time to check prices and ask questions is early in the process of selecting a doctor, not when arriving in an emergency room. Remember too that those who have a regular or primary care physician will be in better shape because of it.

Conclusion

Listen to the over 50 episodes of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast on the website, which is www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org. Plus, there is lots of other information associated with those podcasts and news coverage about Dr. Goldstein and the work he does with the Houston Healthcare Initiative.

 

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative please visit www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

New Health Care Pricing Transparency Rules in 2021

The United States has the highest health care expenditures in the world, in terms of absolute dollars, dollars per person, and as a percentage of GDP 1.  The United States is also one of the few industrialized countries to have very limited government health coverage for working adults.  While insurance premiums are currently price transparent, many aspects of health care are not cost transparent at all.  Historically, it was not standard practice to publish prices of procedures or tests to patients prior to performing them.  Patients would not learn about the true cost until they received their bill later.  This was complicated by the various prices for the same test or procedure depending on the patient’s health care coverage, or lack thereof.  This made it very difficult even for informed patients to make financially informed decisions about where to obtain certain procedures or even if they were truly necessary.  One example from 2012 demonstrated, for mammograms in the Boston area, an average cost of $310 per mammogram but a range from $176-$529 2.  This information could have helped save a patient potentially hundreds of dollars had they had access to it.  Unfortunately, at the time of writing this entry, these prices are often only obtainable with persistence, if at all.

New Health Care Pricing Transparency Rules in 2021

The good news is that, as of January 1st, 2021, The Executive Order EO on Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First goes into effect 3.   This will mandate all hospitals and providers to provide the standard prices for procedures and services.  This includes both the gross price of all services and procedures, but also the amount charged to individual insurers 3.  The most immediate benefit will be that it will allow patients to make financially informed decisions about non-urgent services.  One big caveat is that while this executive order will provide information about cost, it will not include any information regarding the quality or value that any particular institution may provide.  Some information regarding quality of an individual organization can be found at Medicare.gov 4.  While competitive pricing is critical to help stabilize or even decrease the cost of health care, one should be careful to measure it carefully with the quality of the health care obtained.

For more information regarding health care transparency and medical reform, click here.

Bibliography:

  1. 1.”National Health Expenditures 2018 Highlights”. National Health Expenditure Data : Historical. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. December 2019. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.
  2. “Provider Price Variation: For Mammography Services in the Commercial Market”. Center for Health Information and Analysis. October 2014. https://www.chiamass.gov/assets/docs/r/pubs/14/rp-mammography-chartbook.pdf
  3. Postma, Terri MD and Grimsley, Heather. “Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule”. Medical Learning Network. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  December 2019.  https://www.cms.gov/files/document/2019-12-03-hospital-presentation.pdf
  4. “Hospital Compare”. HealthCare.gov. https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html

Obesity And Inactivity During Pandemic Caused Greater Covid Infection

April 29, 2021 – On his latest podcast, Dr. Steven Goldstein told his audience that Americans gained a good bit of weight during the lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But that was not the only bad news. The sad irony that obesity increased the risk of hospitalization due to the Covid-19 infection was not lost on him or his listeners as obesity and inactivity during pandemic caused greater covid infection risk. The cruel combination of lockdowns that were supposed to help keep the American public safer created a situation that made the likelihood of infection and a difficult recovery more possible.

Fat people are at increased risk of morbid covidity
The vast majority—78%—of U.S. patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or had obesity according to the American Medical Association.

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on: : Apple Podcasts, LibSyn, Spotify, Radio.Com, Listen Notes, iHeart Radio, Podcast Addict, Podbay, Backtracks, Player FM, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. There is a way to repair this and many other weight related health risks if individuals change their eating habits.

The Consequences of Obesity & Covid-19                                                                              

The vast majority—78%—of U.S. patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or had obesity according to the American Medical Association. The numbers for intensive care, invasive mechanical ventilation and death were nearly the same.  In short, the quarantine was and is associated with stress and depression leading to unhealthy diet and reduced physical activity. “The main culprit in all of this was what we choose to eat before and during the pandemic,” Dr. Goldstein said.

This Century’s Dietary Downward Spiral

The obesity rate in the U.S. steadily increased since the initial 1962 recording of 23%. By 2014, figures from the CDC found that more than one-third of U.S. adults and 17% of children were obese.  The National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC showed in their most up to date statistics that 42.4% of U.S. adults were obese as of 2017-2018 (43% for men and 41.9% for women).

Americans in general consume more calories than needed. “We eat out way more than we ever did before,” Dr. Goldstein commented. “School systems encouraged unhealthy eating practices among children by accepting soft drink and fast-food contracts because they provide large commissions for financially strapped schools. The increase in energy intake or calories has been paralleled by a decrease in physical activity. Not moving is the norm. And that was especially the case during the pandemic.”

Discouraging but Curable

Rather than be discouraged by this news Dr. Goldstein was hopeful because the treatment for this is known and within the reach of all Americans; that they all make better decisions about what they eat.  “Everyone in the USA can literally take control of their own health and well-being with better choices at the table, store and restaurant and that can start right now, for everyone,” he said.

The pandemic and lockdown brought a lot of significant change to American society. The tendency to sit and eat was exacerbated considerably. “With more people moving less than ever while snacking constantly it is no wonder that our collective weight is so far up,” Dr. Goldstein concluded. “This is an easy fix for us all if we will just make the changes.”

About the Houston Healthcare Initiative

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative please visit www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

The solution to this issue is simple but not easy… Obesity Linked to Greater Risk to and from Covid-19 Infection

junk food
Eating from the added stress of quarantine caused a lot of excess snacking, take-out food and kettle corn consumption while binge watching television.

The solution to this issue is simple but not easy…

Obesity Linked to Greater Risk to and from Covid-19 Infection. People who are overweight were already at more risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. We can now add complications due to the Covid-19 infection to the list. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obesity increases the risk of hospitalization due to the Covid-19 infection. More than 900,000 adult COVID-19 hospitalizations occurred in the United States between the start of the pandemic and November 18, 2020. Models estimate that 271,800 (30.2%) of these hospitalizations were attributed to obesity.

This is the subject of the latest Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein. “We have no control over the Covid-19 virus or any other pathogen,” Dr. Goldstein told his audience. “But we can make our chances of recovery and even possible avoidance much better with a sensible diet.” To hear the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast go to: Apple Podcasts, Audacy, iHeartRadio, ListenNotes, Spotify, Stitcher, Backtracks, PodbayFM, and SoundCloud. This and all other editions of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can also be heard on www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

Control through Choices

According to the CDC, a study of COVID-19 cases suggests that risks of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, and death are higher when Body Mass Index (BMI) are higher. “Everyone listening can take control of and make a significant, positive impact on their own health by making better choices about what they choose to eat or drink,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Not smoking and exercising regularly add even more benefits.”

Stress and Eating

Eating from the added stress of quarantine caused a lot of excess snacking, take-out food and kettle corn consumption while binge watching television. Add to that Zoom calls and a day seated in front of the computer screen, there was not much movement to counteract all those questionable decisions about what and when to eat. “People eat and ate more because of stress or boredom but did not increase their movement to counter those extra calories consumed,” he said. “Americans did not move at record levels.”

Seated While Stressing

Motionless is the norm, and Americans are not moving like never before. “I guess we could say that Americans are not moving at a record setting pace,” he said. “But the sad truth is that sedentary workplaces and motionless home lives are really bad for us. But, and to really stress this, it’s what we eat that is the main culprit,” Dr. Goldstein said. Many of the country’s health care problems are “self-inflicted” and are preventable through proper diet. With more people moving less than ever while snacking constantly it is no wonder that our collective weight is so far up. “This is an easy fix for us all if we will just make these changes.”

About The Houston Healthcare Initiative

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative please visit www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

What you need to know in Health Care.

The right to health was initially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1946. According to WHO, the enjoyment of health is a fundamental right of every human being regardless of race, political belief, or religion. The debate over whether health care is a right or privilege has been raging for more than a century. Here is a look at the definition of health care and health care providers and whether health care is a right or  privilege.

What you need to know in Health Care.

Health Care and Health Care Providers

Healthcare is the provision of medical care to individuals and communities. Healthcare careers are not limited to doctors and nurses but also include chiropractors, administrators, therapists, and technology professionals.

According to federal regulations, a health care provider is a doctor of medicine, dentist, podiatrist, clinical psychologist, nurse, or any medical personnel, authorized to practice by the State and working according to the standards laid out by State law. A healthcare provider is; therefore, anyone who is legally permitted to administer healthcare to patients.

Is Health Care A Right or Privilege?

The right to health care is internationally recognized but this does not mean this right is enforced worldwide. In the U.S., health care was included in the Second Bill of Rights that was drafted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His wife took his work to the UN which led to the clarification of health care as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

After the adoption of the UDHR, all industrialized countries implemented universal health care programs to make sure their citizens enjoyed the right to health. However, in 2015, the U.S. report to the UN does not acknowledge health care as a human right. The U.S. does not have a health care system but only a health insurance system in the form of Medicare and Affordable Care Act. It is; therefore, reasonable to claim that in the U.S. and many developed countries health care is more of a privilege than a right.

The Houston Health Initiative is a group of health conscious patients and physicians who have come together to maintain and improve the health of each member of their group. The goal of HHI is to change the way Americans pay and receive medical care. If you want to learn about the state of health care in the country, or to make a change to the health care system in the U.S., Houston Healthcare Initiative has got your back.

Contact us

Proper health care when you can’t afford health insurance.

The number of uninsured people in the United States has slowly been rising for the past few years. A KFF analysis of the data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 10.9% or 28.9 million people under the age of 65 were uninsured in 2019. This problem is only made worse by the fact that many people who are uninsured avoid medical attention until they are experiencing a medical emergency. Preventable or manageable conditions are made worse and much more expensive when this is done. The U.S. Census Bureau tabulated the reasons why those people were uninsured, and the overwhelming majority, 73.7%, said that coverage was simply not affordable for them.

Proper health care when you can't afford health insurance.

If you find yourself in the same or a similar situation where medical insurance is unaffordable, you need to know that there are options for you to receive proper medical care. One such option is a community health center. These health centers can also be referred to as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or community clinics, but they all operate similarly. They are non-profit clinics that provide quality health care to people at a very low cost regardless of income or insurance status. Today there are over 1,400 community health centers across the U.S., making them not only affordable alternatives to for-profit hospitals but also very accessible no matter where you live.

Despite the fact that you may be asked to pay only a small fee, you’ll always receive comprehensive, quality care at one of these clinics. That’s because their quality of care is heavily tracked to ensure that they are always providing good care to their patients. These health centers can provide primary preventative care, ongoing care, coordination with specialty care, and much more. For those with severe financial struggles, some of these clinics have on-site social workers who can coordinate benefits through connections they have in your community.

Almost every state has a network of community health centers that can provide low cost or free health care to people regardless of their insurance status or level of income. If you’d like more information about this or like topics, visit Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI). We are an organization of like-minded physicians and other medical professionals who are looking to help change the nature of our public health in the U.S.

Where did the money go? Insurance companies keep about 33% Healthcare By The Numbers

Where did the money go? Insurance companies keep about 33%… 

Healthcare By The Numbers

Where did the money go? What is the American public buying when it pays for its health insurance and is it a good value? If the public knew that their insurance company kept as much as 33% of what they spent how would they react? While there is nothing wrong with making a profit, there is also no issue with insisting that money provide a good value. On his weekly podcast, Dr. Steven Goldstein describes in detail where all that money goes. The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on : Apple Podcasts, LibSyn, Spotify, Radio.Com, Listen Notes, iHeart Radio, Podcast Addict, Podbay, Backtracks, Player FM, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

Where Does That Money Go?

Most people and their families who have health insurance, have it through their employer. The business pays for some if not most of the premiums and the employees pay deductible and out of pocket costs. But where does all that money really go? Does the public purchase more benefits or receive a better value as a result of what they were charged for that insurance?

Hospitalization Charges & Costs

When Paying for Healthcare?
Is what the public paying for healthcare and health insurance a good value?

Dr. Goldstein told his listeners, that in 2018 the average cost of hospitalization was about $10,000.00. The average charge for hospitalization with private insurance was about $20,000.00, thus the amount charged was double the cost. “Now let’s multiply that same number by a sample of the population, Dr. Goldstein proposed. “The average number of hospitalizations per year was about 9 for every 100 people. So, for those nine, the amount the insurance company collected was $180,000.00.” But there was more to healthcare payments than simple hospitalization. “People often go to the doctor and have what are classified as outpatient charges. Those are charged at about $500.00 a year, per person,” he said.

Add Drug Costs

The drug costs across the population were estimated at $1200.00 each. “We can reasonably assume that drug costs are higher for the over 65 population,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Now, for people under 65 years of age the expense estimate is less. So, the amount paid overall by the population of 100 people is about $500.00 each. The total for 100 people at $500.00 each is another $50,000.00.”

Factor Insurance Into The Equation

To get to the ultimate amount of money spent and where it all ends up, the cost of insurance factors in. “Say someone has a $50,000.00 deductible along with discounts they receive from the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), we can figure a $20K discount for our 100 people,” He said. “Or charges to them all of $30,000.00.”

It is here the distinction between price and costs reveal an interesting outcome. Insurance will generally pay two thirds of the cost with the other, remaining third paid by the individual in the form of co-payments and applied deductions. “If we add these costs together, we find the total charges for 100 people = $300,000.00,” Dr. Goldstein declared. So where does the other one third go?  “The very cheapest Blue Cross policy for a 31-year-old male living in zip code 77096 (the Houston are) was $257/month or $3084/year, said Dr. Goldstein. “The cost for 100 people would be $308,000.00 annually but would have a $7400.00 deductible.”

For someone age 50, the cost was $4000.00 annually. The high deductible means that outpatient care is not paid for and that the insurance only pays for the reinsurance and hospitalization costs of $200K. So, who benefits the most from these expenditures?

No surprise, it’s the insurance company. “The gross profit for them is at least $100K. That is income per 100 patients of at least $300K less claims of $200K.” Is this a good value for the public? It’s a fair question and good way to think about healthcare costs.

A study in ‘Health Affairs’ co-authored by a Princeton University health economist, found that Americans use the same amount of health care as residents of other nations. They just pay more for them. U.S. hospital prices are 60% higher than those in Europe. Government efforts to reform health care and cut costs raised them instead. “Our system is broken and needs to be overhauled,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Efforts at reform, that we have talked about before on the podcast, are a waste of time and effort when the overall system for providing and charging for healthcare is so fundamentally broken.”

About Dr. Steven Goldstein and the Houston Healthcare Initiative

The Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI) was founded by respected, Houston neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein. Like many Americans, Dr. Goldstein is concerned about the state of the U.S healthcare system and the sorry state of the public’s health. The Houston Healthcare Initiative web site is an aggregator of news, healthcare pricing information, and resources for those who want to help drive reform for the healthcare industry. HHI’s emphasis for reform is on free market innovation and personal responsibility. Learn even more here at https://houstonhealthcareinitiative.org/about-us/.

The goal of the Houston Healthcare Initiative is to be a catalyst for change in the way Americans receive and pay for medical treatment. To cause change the site aggregates information, tools, and targets for the reform of the healthcare industry with an emphasis on free market innovation and personal responsibility. Visit online at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

Healthcare by the Numbers

Where Does the Money Go When Paying for Healthcare; Prices, Costs, and Value…

Healthcare by the Numbers

March 23, 2021 – On the latest edition of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast, Houston based neurologist and the founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative Dr. Steven Goldstein, describes the numbers and dollars associated with health insurance and hospitalization costs. This to inform us all where the money that individuals and employers contribute goes and who really profits most.

Dr. Seven Franklin
Where does your money go when paying for health insurance?

The answers are surprising when it comes to cost, price, and the ultimate value those with health insurance derive from the premiums they and their employers all pay. Ultimately, did the public purchase more benefits or receive a better value as a result of what they were charged? “There is nothing wrong with making a profit, but most people will want to know what they bought and was it worth it,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners.

Additionally, Dr. Goldstein describes the profits hospitals and health insurance companies accrue, what percentage of their payments actually go to help pay for their healthcare and how much the insurance companies keep. All this to help the public decide if this money was well spent or if it could be better managed.

Where To Listen

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on: Apple Podcasts, LibSyn, Spotify, Radio.Com, Listen Notes, iHeart Radio, Podcast Addict, Podbay, Backtracks, Player FM, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

About the Houston Healthcare Initiative

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative please visit www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

What’s increasing the cost of your healthcare?

A popular opinion in the United States is that the current health care system is broken. Health care in the United States costs more than that of comparable countries but does not provide greater or even equal quality of care when compared to those same countries. Many people and organizations are actively attempting to fix this problem, but without the people’s approval, they cannot effect real change. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the problem or where it stems from. This article should give you a little more understanding of the problem.

What's increasing the cost of your healthcare?

The healthcare industry used to be just like any other industry in a free market. People would judge care by its quality while contrasting that to its price. Now, insurance allows people to ignore the price of care by introducing a copay that is much smaller than the actual cost of their care.

Since the price is not of much concern, hospitals no longer need to show their prices in order to get patients. As hospitals improve the quality of their care by upgrading technology and techniques, prices go up. At the same time, patients now are more likely to get unnecessary treatment because they are only expected to pay a small copay.

These two factors contribute to the price of insurance increasing. The increase in insurance price increases both your copay and the amount your employer is expected to contribute. Because employers do not gain from contributing more, cuts have to be made somewhere to maintain profitability, this is usually your pay. Unfortunately, now you cannot afford to opt-out of your employer’s insurance because the cost of healthcare has risen too high.

In addition to these problems raising the cost of healthcare, uninsured people also raise the cost of healthcare for everyone. This is because people who do not have insurance are likely to not seek medical attention until a problem goes from bad to worse to emergency. In these events, prices go up for everyone because the hospital has to make up for their loss.

To further add to the problem, affordable health care legislation can backfire by raising the price of healthcare depending on the provisions within. There are many more factors that play into the cyclical nature of this problem, such as pre-existing conditions, managed care plans, insurer networks, and businesses simply going bankrupt. For more information on this topic and many more related to the health care industry, contact Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI) today.