Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | November 3, 2010

“You Can Keep Your Insurance Plan If You Want”

Forgive me for being a little late to the Health Care Insurance Reform discussion. I was busy, yanno, providing actual health care to sick people while that whole rigamarole was going on. But that one sentence, uttered over and over by everyone from the President on down, always stuck in my craw. At long last, I am finally able to properly articulate my response.

Trying to pass sweeping health insurance reform legislation while telling people that of course they can keep their current plans if they want is like legislating tough new laws against wife-beating, and assuring women that of course they can stay with their husbands if they like.

No one tries to force victims of domestic violence to leave their abusers, but they do try to help them understand that they have options, and that they don’t deserve to be treated so poorly. I firmly believe that people who like their current insurance plans probably have several things in common:

  1. They don’t pay for them
  2. They’ve probably never used them
  3. They’re worried that some other plan would be worse; better the devil you know than the one you don’t.

Although the public option is dead for now, I find it interesting that many of the big health insurers are so worried about complying with the new laws that they’re seeking waivers from having to follow them. It’s as if the worst abusers feel they can’t keep their houses in order without slapping their women around a bit, while the government agrees to look the other way.

Whatever ends up happening with the just-completed election, all I can do is hope that this country continues along the path just begun of providing meaningful health care at reasonable cost to all citizens.


  1. I think I will be amazed if that happens. I think it’s more likely to be “you can try to keep your current health insurance (if they let you and you can afford it) or you can have none (because you deserve it!). Because after all, we do have to let the abuse continue.
    Yes, I have tried to use my insurance! And we pay 1/3 of our income to have it.

  2. Sure, I can keep my current health plan–in name only. They’ve decided to revise the drug formulary to move more drugs into higher tiers and also decided to sort hospitals into tiers and adding charges of $1K or more on top of the $1K deductible for hospital-based care, as well as jacking up the maximum out-of-pocket cost from $1K to $5K. I’m already paying $7,500 in premiums, plus $1,500 in deductible and copays; next year my premiums will be even higher so I’ll be shelling out $10K per year if I stay healthy. If I get sick I’ll go bankrupt despite the health insurance.

  3. Thank you very much for calling it what it is: Health *Insurance* Reform.

  4. Well, they’re already raising rates supposedly because of the law (most of which won’t go into effect for years yet) so nobody will have their old plan by then anyway. It’s like what the banks did just before credit card reform went into effect: they stuck it to the ocnsumers every way they could. This is no different.

  5. […] “You Can Keep Your Insurance Plan If You Want” […]

  6. For a counter-example, I like my insurance plan.
    1) Tax laws do not allow the employer to pay our premium. My family pays a premium of less than $800 per month for medical insurance. Adding dental and vision, it’s still less than $1000.

    2) We use our insurance. A lot. I met my personal deductible on January 4th this year. We met the family deductible in July (kids break bones sometimes; that adds up in a hurry). For the second year in a row, I’ve hit my out-of-pocket max.

    3) Yep. I’m pretty sure another plan would be worse.

    Even though I wanted to keep my insurance plan, the insurer won’t be offering it any more. Their closest new plan will cost a lot more money, so the employer went shopping for a new carrier 😦

    Current plan:
    *$200 deductible per person, max $600 per family
    *$20 copay for office visits; $75 for ER
    *Only one copay per day – if I see all three of my doctors on the same day, I only owe a copay to one of them
    *After copay, office visits covered 100%
    *80% coverage on labs & diagnostic imaging
    *No pre-approval required for MRI
    *$1000 out of pocket max per individual, $3K per family
    *$10/$20/$40 prescription copay excluded from out-of-pocket max

    Next month’s changes:
    *have a higher copay
    *increase to $1500 deductible per person
    *increase to $10,000 out-of-pocket max
    *premium increase, too (but most employees will have single plans, not family, so their premium will drop to under $300)

    Yes, my new deductible will be higher than my current out-of-pocket max. Not terribly happy about that.

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