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Health Care Costs

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

A major campaign issue is health care. Americans are upset with the high cost of health care. Although many candidates are promoting the idea of “Medicare for All,” it won’t bring down costs and has little chance of passing anyway.

So, we should be asking if there are any ways to bring down the cost of health care. Fortunately, we have some companies and states that have been able to do so with relatively minor changes. Sean Flynn describes two of these changes.

The first solution is price tags. As I have discussed in previous commentaries, it is nearly impossible for people with health insurance to find out what a procedure will cost and how much will be covered by insurance. When patients have been able to comparison shop (LASIK eye surgery is a good example), competition has brought the cost down.

A second solution is deductible security. This pairs an insurance policy that has an annual deductible with a health saving account (HSA) that is funded with an amount equal to the annual deductible. The sponsor could either be a private employer (like Whole Foods) or a government (like the state of Indiana).

Since the amount is equal to the annual deductible, participants have money to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. This not only provides them with cash to spend on medical expenses, but it also makes them participants. They get to keep unspent HSA balances. That causes them to be more conscious of costs and comparison shop.

The state of Indiana tracked health care spending and discovered that these behavioral changes resulted in 35 percent lower spending compared to traditional health insurance. And they also found that employees were still going in for mammograms, annual check-ups, and other forms of preventative medicine at the same rate.

If we want to lower health care costs, here are two time-tested solutions that will achieve that.

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