Zach Krajacic at the Christian Science Monitor has posted a fresh, new idea about health insurance.
Under the system I am proposing, health insurance would pay for emergencies and urgent care, diagnostic tests and X-rays, medically necessary surgery, hospitalization, therapy, and any other critical services that few people could afford to pay out of their own pockets. Individuals would pay for routine, discretionary, and elective services – such as doctor visits, acupuncture, marriage counseling – on their own.
This type of system – which has not yet been tried – would lower healthcare costs and make insurance more affordable for everyone, especially the uninsured, by reducing the number of healthcare services that are used. When the use of services goes up, health insurers must raise premiums to pay for the increase in expenses. This makes it more expensive for insured people to keep their health coverage, while also making it more expensive for uninsured people to purchase coverage.
Insurance is intended to be a pooling of people’s money to pay for large, unexpected expenses – not for every expense that is incurred. In other words, it is supposed to be a safety net for catastrophic events.