Unless you have been actively involved in the mad, mad world of healthcare in the United States over the past 3 decades, you can’t possibly get your mind around what’s going on in this country. It’s likely that you’re not even sure which questions need to be asked.
People are daunted by the very idea of U.S. healthcare these days. As an insurance professional and someone that has been delivering the healthcare system for almost 30 years, clients, friends and family are constantly asking me to explain this “new” healthcare system, to try to translate the confusion that surrounds what appears to be a very sleek, well-oiled machine. They want to know what role I play in this drama and how I can guide them through the chaos.
And it is indeed chaos. You can read up on the latest news to try to comprehend how the recent changes to our healthcare system will affect every day Americans, but there’s nothing like having a heart-to-heart conversation with my clients: individuals under 65, Medicare recipients over 65, employers and employees, to understand that the trouble we are in is deep. I’m playing my part by helping people choose the “right” plan for themselves but the bottom line is the cost of healthcare is soaring to new heights beyond anyone’s comprehension. Everyone is affected, even if you’re lucky enough to have an employer who contributes to your healthcare or receiving a substantial subsidy through the exchange.
The 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) is offering taxpayer-subsidized private insurance to low and middle income people who don’t have coverage on the job at a lower cost than ever before. This is the good news. Those consumers are finding plans for under $25/month. About 14 million people are enrolled already. The Obama health law has managed to survive in spite of rising premiums, dwindling insurer participation, and President Donald Trump’s predictions of its swift and sure demise. You truly want to get coverage this year as per the new Tax Bill that just passed last night (unless corrected) will cause a sharp hike for the upcoming 2019 year.
The truth is that 2018 offers a wider availability of no-premium plans. This is an unintended consequence of the Trump Administration’s actions to undermine the ACA. The President’s measures resulted in higher premiums for Silver ACA plans. The federal government stopped reimbursing insurers for reduced copays and deductibles available to people of modest incomes. The low cost of the Silver plan was important for market stabilization because of the cost sharing that covered individuals received on top of the subsidy. Government subsidies have also shot up as they’re linked to the cost of Silver plans.
When you really get down to it, the truth is there’s no free ride. We need to pay for everything in life. And in my opinion, that’s okay. I came to understand that fact very young in life. I believe that we “pay back” constantly, whether it’s helping the people around us, or paying our taxes.
I love paying my taxes. Yes, I love it! It means that I am alive and thriving, sharing and moving the energy around. Nonetheless, the rate hikes this year in the healthcare market are out of control. Even I concede that there must be a better way to finance the system besides basically stealing from the pockets of ordinary, hardworking citizens. Please keep in mind that HealthCare is expensive and for some reason cost higher in the Unite State that anywhere in the world.
Across the board, healthcare cost is increasing with incredible speed. Unless your employer makes contributions towards your healthcare (and believe me, the cost to those employers is soaring as well), or you receive a subsidy through the state or federal exchange, the average 40-year old with an average of 5 people in their family, will pay an average of $2500 monthly with a $14,000 yearly out of pocket in 2018. That is $40,000 per year. How is that possible?
How many average families in the workforce have a spare $40,000/year to pay for healthcare? Who can afford that? I would venture a guess that most cannot. Where does this leave a vast number of Americans who cannot afford to pay for healthcare? Quite simply, uncovered and at risk. It’s just insane. It’s unworkable and undoable. The system as it currently exists does not work.
Something needs to happen and soon. Those of us who are involved in the healthcare industry are watching and waiting, but we honestly don’t know what to expect. As a result, now is the ideal moment to start thinking of this time as a sort of journey: a journey of learning how to treat and heal ourselves and how to adopt healthy attitudes.
At the end of the day, we need to look to each other and start working together as a community. Community is created when we come together and believe that we can heal together. When people come together - mind, body, and spirit - the result is a healthier, happier population. Guided by such wisdom, we as a country will surely find a way to implement a healthcare solution that will be both affordable, intelligent and of impeccable quality.
I am convinced we will find an answer. There are so many aspects of healthcare that are in our own hands. Only we know how we truly feel. This is a reminder that we must stay involved in our own healthcare and educate ourselves every day. Learn what is needed to allow real healing in every aspect of our lives. Remind ourselves what we already forgot, which is as simple as taking an additional breath daily. Further, if we remember to eat well, sleep well, walk 10,000 steps a day, think positive, engage socially, exercise, meditate and practice yoga daily, we will be able to reduce our healthcare cost!
In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I would like to take a moment and share my love with you. In my life, love heals me and so many of the people around me. Happy Holidays and many blessings for a beautiful New Year! The divine in me bows to the divine in each of you.
Naama O. Pozniak
CEO : Paz Holding, Inc. dba / A+ Insurance Service