Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to reduce your company’s cost – your company’s net-expense - for healthcare insurance

An “opinion article” – about the healthcare insurance industry - authored by Barbara Shelly of the Kansas City Star, appeared yesterday in the St Pete Times newspaper. I’ve posted a copy of that article in my Google Docs document library so that you can read the full article, if you want to. And, I think you should. Here’s a (click-on) link to the article that Ms. Shelly authored:

She begins her ‘opinion article’ with these three paragraphs:

“Who would you figure to be America's highest-paid chief executive officer?

Someone from the tech industry, maybe. Or bioscience. Or petroleum. And to be sure, some sweet compensation packages and bonuses are to be had in those fields.

But according to Forbes, America's highest-paid chief executive officer hails from the industry that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are roundly accused of trying to destroy — health insurance.

Meet Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group. He is 58 years old with a one-year compensation package of almost $102 million, Forbes reports. And he has $111 million in company stock.”

If you’ve spent any time, the past couple of years, following the financial results of healthcare insurance companies, you’d know that all have been growing and prospering “right through” the recession, and in spite of the recession. Why is that? Well, it’s “kinda” simple, and I “kinda” explained this in a “rant”-post I did, not too long ago, on my blog. The main reason is the healthcare insurance industry operates in an ‘oligopoly’ environment. There really isn’t any competition to speak of. There aren’t that many healthcare insurance companies. They all raise their premium rates each year, pretty much inline with one another, and there really isn’t any way to stop them from doing that. Our present system of healthcare insurance in the U.S. is, to put in very bluntly, a “license to rape.” In addition to this “license to rape”, healthcare insurance companies have benefitted, during the recession, from being able to charge higher insurance premiums to people who were terminated from companies. (And, we all know that job losses have created what’s still a very high unemployment level.) If a person has insurance coverage in a company “group” and if that “group” is of fair size and, later on, that person (for whatever reason) leaves the company and is no longer included in any “group”, then that person’s healthcare insurance premium is going to rise, and rise by a significant amount. And, the higher insurance premium that person pays will be for coverage that has worse benefits than the “group” coverage-plan had. So, he/she will pay a lot more, for a lot less. And, keep in mind we are talking about the “same person.” The only difference is that … that “same” person is no longer covered in a ‘group’ plan, but, rather, covered by an ‘individual’ plan. It’s not going to cost the healthcare insurance company any more for claims) for that person than it cost the healthcare insurance company before (for claims) for that person. The healthcare insurance company benefits, substantially, because it is able to move that person’s premiums from “column one” pricing (group coverage) to “column two” pricing (individual coverage.) And, “column two” pricing is extraordinarily high. As I said, the system is a license to rape (and pillage.)

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. Anyone who currently had coverage under a “group” plan, but is now covered by an “individual” plan, knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’m certainly aware of what’s going on. My monthly premium for healthcare insurance (individual coverage, not through any group) is now about 3x more than what it was when I was covered by a “group” plan. If I joined a group plan next month, my monthly premium would drop substantially. And, I’d still be the same person!

For these reasons, and for other reasons I’m not going to bother going into more detail about in this post, I find it very difficult, if not completely impossible, to figure out why any congressman or senator would be stupid enough to think that “privatizing” healthcare insurance completely would be a good idea for the citizenry of the U.S. In my opinion, any (and I mean ANY) congressman or senator who thinks that completely privatizing healthcare insurance is a good idea is not just stupid, but a complete idiot. Which means that we have a lot of stupid people – idiots – in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. That’s disconcerting, to say the very least.

So, anyway, now that I’ve “ranted-on” about that, I’d like to make a suggestion to reprographers who are looking for ways to reduce the “net cost” of their healthcare insurance expense, which was the ‘title’ of this post. Find healthy people who are currently covered by “individual” healthcare insurance coverage and add them to your “group” coverage plan, and charge them an “administrative” fee for allowing them to “ride” your group coverage plan. If under your “group” plan the person’s monthly premium is going to be $1,000 and if that person is now paying $2,000 per month for coverage under an “individual” plan, charge them an administrative fee of $500 per month. The “person” would save $500 each month, and you, the reprographer, would profit by $500 each month. That profit would reduce your company’s “net expense” for healthcare insurance premiums. I don’t think that healthcare insurance companies would like this, but I say, “F--- ‘em”. What goes around, comes around.

If you don’t take advantage of this business opportunity, someone will. Perhaps someone who’s very entrepreneurial will found a company that’s nothing more than a healthcare “group.” And, I’ve got a suggestion for the name of that “company” – “PFCBIHcIWGTOGFBHcIC, LLC”

A $100 cash prize will be paid to the first person who correctly guesses what those letters stand for. (Don’t’ waste your time, you will never figure out the correct answer.)

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