Race to the Bottom….

The Wall Street Journal today reports that more insurance companies are jumping into the individual market — the most expensive and most difficult way to buy health insurance coverage — and tailoring plans (read skimpy high-deductible health plans — with no maternity coverage) to the just-beginning-adulthood (who apparently don’t think anything they do leads to pregnancy), and just-beginning-seniorhood set.

The illustrative quote that just got my goat: “There is a sizable portion of the population who are not interested in maternity coverage and don’t want to pay for this benefit,” WellPoint spokeswoman Christi Lanier-Robinson told the Journal.

This growing popularity of high-deductible plans could mean that the number of people with Health Savings Accounts (which can only be used if you have a high-deductible plan) may double in the next year from about 4 million now (since their inception in 2004) as more big businesses begin offering them as alternatives to traditional coverage, The Washington Times reports.

While the low premiums for these plans may seem initially alluring — and HSAs do give some the chance to put money — that you would have otherwise paid for a more expensive plan for later use — these stories seem to miss the true detriment of these plans.

Health plans are corralling people into little buckets: young here; healthy here; wealthy here; pregnang here; sick here; old here.

While for some groups — young and healthy — it seems okay now when they don’t have lots of health expenses — no diabetes, no high blood pressure medicines, and for one gender — no expensive babies to pay for.

But what it will eventually mean is that young and healthy mutate into the sick and old (I’ve heard it happens pretty quickly) , and where will the young and healthy be then?

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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