Ever since the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act, there has been an outcry of opposition from various perspectives. Insurance industry analysts point to how the increased mandatory coverage will drive up premiums. Providers are concerned that mandated reimbursement amounts will be insufficient to meet the overhead involved in managing an increased case load. Citizens rebel against the coercive penalty tax on those who do not want to carry health insurance. In response, the politicians who enacted the law, now often called ObamaCare, challenge their opponents with, “If you don’t like this law, come up with something better!” Americans, however, are not waiting for the wheels of government to turn. They are coming up with their own alternatives.
For instance, physicians and other health care practitioners find that handling paperwork for insurance claims and extended waits for reimbursement just costs too much. A solution some have found is to offer cash only services. Direct Primary Care, like Qliance in Washington State, or Concierge Care, like AtlasMD in Wichita, KS, are examples of this kind of practice. Without the expenses of dealing with third party payers, the practice can contract discounted testing fees and cut office visit fees dramatically. Best of all, not feeling pushed to cover a high overhead, these providers find they are able to reduce their patient load to a level where they can give more time and a higher standard of care to their patients.
Individuals have been finding ways to avoid high health insurance premiums for years. One of these solutions has been to carry only a high-deductible insurance plan. The result is that you wind up paying for most of your own health care expenses. Things like office visits, labs, testing fees, and medications become budgeted expenses. But in the event of a serious illness or emergency, the insurance policy will kick in to cover the catastrophic medical obligations.
Another solution has been to self-insure all the way. Most would do this with a simple pay-as-you-go policy at a local family practice or perhaps with an Internet Doctor on Call service. In the case of a major illness or accident, they would have to make special arrangements for payments over time. But if you put the amount you could be paying for an insurance premium (or even a percentage of that) into a savings account, you can be prepared ahead of time to pay for more major medical events.
The way that health care is provided and funded in America is changing dramatically in the 21st century. Some of those changes are being driven by the provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Alternatives need to be found. Alternatives that will empower individuals. Alternatives that will reduce government involvement and simplify healthcare management. Hopefully some of the opposition politicians in Washington, D.C. are accepting the challenge to create something better.