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Health Insurance And The Programs At A Glance

Health insurance is a kind of guarantee or assurance to meet your health care expenditures partially or fully according to the policy you’ve chosen. The possible contingencies under which this scheme becomes operational are sickness, injury, accident, death due to accident, disability and cutting off limbs due to mishaps. While the Federal and States in America is doing its share of insurance services, it’s only the private health companies that steal the show in the insurance and health sectors in the country.

This can be confirmed by the following data. As per statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America, nearly 61% of Americans had only private health insurance plans during 2012. The 2011 report of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has also indicated that private insurance billing was for $12.2 million US inpatient hospital stays with its cost being around $112.5 billion which is 29% of the total national aggregate costs. These figures speak volumes for the predominant presence of private agencies in Insurance sector in the country.

Public Insurance programs:

Public programs in the US are actually like welfare schemes launched by the government. These programs concentrate on low income children and families as per some norms, and ripe senior citizens. Medicare is one federal social insurance public program aiming at senior citizens and some disabled persons. Medicaid is another public program which is co-funded by Federal and State, but operated at State level covering very indigent children and families. SCHIP is a federal-state joint program covering families and children who are outside the ambit of Medicaid, and who are at the same time not able to afford private policies. TRICARE and Veterans Health Administration programs extend military and health benefits. Some more extra programs are available in some states offering benefits to low income persons.

Health Care System Overhaul:

Health Advocacy Groups made their debut in the 1990s and 2000s to deal with the nuances of the then-prevailing health care system. A study found that about 62% of bankruptcy cases in 2007 had medical expenses dues crossing over $1000 and $5000. The study further found that nearly 80% of those who filed bankruptcy had health insurance, and that the Medicare and Medicaid will soon devour 50% of the national health allocation. People suffered like this owing to high cost of health insurance products.

To arrest this worrying trend, overhaul of the American healthcare system was thought of. The President in 2010 made a law known as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. According to the revamping, all Americans should subscribe to medical insurance, failing which the defaulters will face fine. Near-unanimous support has poured in from most quarters for this.

But, after all these developments, the cost of healthcare has not abated. The reasons affecting insurance prices are too many. We’ll have a look at them.

  • Increased utilization caused by spurt in demand due to population growth. Especially senior citizens are ageing warranting newer and advanced treatments.
  • Modern methods of treatment. Breakthroughs in medical technology and medicines boost up the cost.
  • Lifestyle factors increase utilization thus hiking the insurance cost. Obesity accentuated by lack of physical workouts, unhealthy foods, alcohol consumption, smoking and toxic drugs- all contributing to health problems resorting to more health insurance use.
  • Elaborate modern diagnostic methods cost much.
  • Deals and discounts lure easily more patients to healthcare facilities.

Health insurance programs are many-both private and public. You’ve to avail any of them. However you’ve to put up with the high cost till a turnaround comes.

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