Health Insurance Cost Tipping Point Inches Closer

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media , October 14, 2009

Empowering the individual is one positive outcome that could come from these account-based plans, but health insurers and businesses can't merely transfer more costs onto the employees through higher deductibles and copays and call it consumerism. Instead, what is needed are:

  • Member education campaigns

  • Provider education campaigns to teach doctors and staff about healthcare finances and account-based plans

  • Web sites that allow people to learn about health insurance and how they can make wiser healthcare decisions

  • Tools that help members understand their healthcare finances, such as out-of-pocket cost calculators

  • Health insurer programs for small- and mid-sized companies to help human resources and benefits departments provide health education

Large employers are right in being excited about the potential of account-based plans and small- and mid-sized companies should also explore those offerings. But it's also incumbent upon employers and insurers to create programs that reward people who are making the right choices, help educate those who are not, and not transfer so many health-related costs onto the individual. The last things that health insurers should want are people dropping their coverage or needing to file for bankruptcy because an insurer's plan is being used as a way to protect the employer and insurer from rising health costs.

That's exactly what health insurers can't allow to happen.

Les Masterson is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Follow Les Masterson on Twitter.

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