Economy: More to your health

About 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. This means that nearly one-third of Americans face each day without the security of knowing that, if and when they need it, medical care is available to them and their families.

Having no health insurance also often means that people will postpone necessary care and forego preventive care – such as childhood immunizations and routine check-ups-completely. Because the uninsured usually have no regular doctor and limited access to prescription medications, they are more likely to be hospitalized for health conditions that could have been avoided.

–Sherry Glied, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Health, Columbia University

OK, about this health care thing. Is it relevant between the worlds? Is it something that we should be concerned about? I think so. I think human suffering and well-being are always our concern, not only for people in general, but for the community of the called-out ones, too.

I suggested a couple of days ago, that the community of Christ-followers may have an opportunity to be creative as we care for one another. Based on the reality that many of our friends and acquaintances are among the 44 million people mentioned above, it stands to reason that we ought to be taking responsibility for creatively dealing with a real need. That’s why I proposed using a cost-sharing approach to medical expenses like Christian Care Medi-share, Good Samaritan Program and others, to handle the larger unexpected needs and then doing something local to help people with the routine check-ups and the preventative care that most of us should be having.

Could it work? Let me envision for a moment.

Family X has three kids, a stay-at-home mom and ahealth_care.jpg responsible dad who is working at a job that provides minimal or non-existent health insurance. They are a trying to save for a house, but they have a huge target on their back healthwise.

They are not alone in their faith community, so the community has made a plan. A health maintainence account has been opened and contributions made to it. The participating families can submit their bills for reasonable health care needs (annual check-ups, immunizations and such) to the fund for reimbursal like a regular insurance plan–80/20% let’s say. As the fund is drawn down, the word goes out to the community so people can contribute to the fund to bring it within acceptable limits.

Early one summer, Family X’s middle son takes a header off the back fence and breaks an arm. The need is submitted to the cost-sharing program they’re a part of . They have to pay what amounts to a deducltible, part of which is offset (80/20 again?) by the community health account.

Again, could it work? I know one problem: pre-existing conditions. None of the cost-sharing programs that I know of deal effectively with pre-existing conditions. I don’t know how to deal with that. But aside from that issue (requires more of that creative thinking), could it work?

Shouldn’t those of us living between the worlds be making sure our brethren are cared for? Or is that the job of the state?

2 thoughts on “Economy: More to your health”

  1. Hell, Dan. Not even the health insurers know what to do with pre-existing conditions other than the Nancy Reagan solution: just say no.

    Tangent: a friend stays in a job he does not like and from which he fears he will be laid off. But he did not accept a job offer he received recently because a new job and concomitant new benefits would leave his (expensive-to-treat) illness out in the cold as a pre-existing condition.

  2. I think one major problem that is somewhat out of the hands of the creative thinkers could be the actual healthcare centers, ie. hospitals themselves. The itemized billing that they do is ridiculous and over indulged. I have never looked heartily at the governments budget but I equate hospitals’ $3000 a night to the “$400 hammer.” I believe that hospitals are acting this way because they need to take advantage of the health insurance agencies in order to forgive the debt that is simply not EVER going to paid to them by the folks who recieve service and do not pay for whatever reason. The mish-mash of incongruent Bureaucracy on all levels would make it difficult to navigate no matter what the plan.
    All of this said; if there were some key fighters in the group that could go to bat in order to make certain that the $3000/night stay was justified if might actually be workable.

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