I'm old enough to remember the days when health insurance was more like car insurance, and simply covered the losses too big for the average budget to absorb. Minor problems came out of the insured's pocket rather than insurer's.
I also remember, about a generation ago, being introduced to an HMO (health maintenance organization), which proposed that the way to prevent major problems was to cover regular check-ups and health maintenance, which would ultimately keep medical costs lower.
At least that's how it was supposed to work.
Instead, we developed the prevalent attitude is that complete access to all medical services is an American entitlement. Rather than taking better care of ourselves, as health insurers anticipated, Americans became less fit than ever before. We pretty much expect every affliction to be treatable for a minimal cost to ourselves, and anticipate that someone else, somewhere, will pick up the tab for any medical treatment or prescription available, no exclusions.
We certainly understand that this method wouldn't work for car insurance. Can you imagine being a business owner and being required to pay car insurance premiums for workers? And if "co-pays" were $25 per accident and $10 for repairs, could people be expected to more faithfully perform preventative maintenance and develop safer driving habits?
On the other hand, what if costs for health insurance and medical services were handled more like we deal with our cars? Would we find a way to take better care of ourselves if insurance premiums were adjusted according to how we take care of ourselves, increasing in proportion to our bad habits? What if coverage was cancelled for smoking? What if injuries due to high-risk activities were exclusions to coverage? What if deductibles went up, so that we absorbed more of the responsibility for our own health care?
Mind you, I'm not pointing fingers. I've slid into the entitlement mentality. In the last couple of years, I've gained unnecessary weight. In recent months, I've gone along with all the expensive, cardiologist-recommended diagnostic procedures to poke around my heart for the problem. I didn't make a fuss last week when an x-ray and doctor visit had to be repeated because of a poorly managed urgent care clinic.
And I just found out that all these procedures are now out-of-pocket, to the tune of a $4,000 deductible—effective July 1. Guess who just absorbed more responsibility for my health care?
I don't want to sweat that figure, though. I know that God provides …
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
We Christians affirm our reliance such truth when financial stress occurs. And He does, indeed, provide complete coverage for our needs—no exclusions.
Our God is also most interested in providing for our spiritual and eternal needs before material and temporal needs—with some significant deductibles and co-pays.
More on this in days to come.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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