Vail Daily letter: Column was self-serving
Vail, CO Colorado
As one insurance agent to another, Mr. Zeboray, I found your Valley Voices (“Fix what’s broken – don’t destroy what’s not”) to be a tad bit too self-serving.
You conclude that the present system is already functioning pretty well and that the ” fixes” boil down to doing away with or severely limiting malpractice claims, doing away with health-coverage mandates ( many of which are state-imposed, which you didn’t address) and increas-ing everyone’s “skin in the game” by what you call “going back” to higher deductible, 20 percent co- insurance up to an annual out- of-pocket maxi-mum, which will make everyone ” far more cautious of how they utilize health care,” and, presto, we will have significantly reduced premiums.
For those of us not yet 65 and who buy our own health insur-ance, we don’t have to go back to higher deductible, higher out-of-pocket maximums. We are already there. That’s all we are offered. And if you have a pre-existing condition, you can be denied coverage, have pre-exist-ing coverage exclusions or have your premium increased by 100 percent over your age/gender calculated premium. You know this. Your clients are primarily individuals or families.
The 14 percent overhead expense you claim for insurance companies sounds low by a cou-ple of percentage points, but let’s not quibble. The rest of the industrialized world spends less than half that amount to provide universal health care while pro-viding better quality care by most measures. Then there’s that little line item called profit that you neglected to mention. Less than 80 percent of the premium paid to our insurance companies is paid out for claims.
As for the coverage mandates, they can get out of control. But let’s not forget that if it wasn’t for forced mandates, health insur-ance wouldn’t offer mental-health coverage. Of course, there is the recent interchange between senators on the Finance Committee where a male Repub-lican stated he didn’t think maternity benefits should be part of required coverage because he didn’t need it. A female Democ-rat countered that maybe his mother had.
Lastly, if you and your agents have the same insurance license as mine (mine is Florida), you also sell life insurance, long-term- care insurance, annuities, Medicare supplemental and Part D insur-ance and a few arcane policies, such as relating to specific diseases. Nice try, but I seriously doubt that your agency will be in danger of going out of business because of anything contained in current health care reform proposals.
– Jim Cameron, Avon