Healthcare costs in the U.S remain a record high, and while the health sector tries to justify the costs, there is a consensus that it is driven by the desire for profit.
Today, millions of American families live in fear of disease or illness because the cost of medical care is outrageous. But how can we support the claim that the industry is money-driven? Let’s look at past trends:
Medical Bills are the Main Cause of US Bankruptcies
Medical bills are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in America. In fact, bankruptcy resulting from medical bills have in the past outdone those from credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages. And no one has been spared, even those who have year-round health insurance. Millions have been pushed to deplete their savings to cover their medical bills, and the situation has gotten worse over the years.
American Health Insurance Companies Have Recorded Super High Profits During Difficult Times
Around 2009, when the rest of the U.S was grappling with economic challenges, America’s insurance companies upped their profits by a whopping 56%.
This happened in the middle of a deep recession and saw 2.7 million people lose their coverage. Five of America’s largest insurers closed that year with a total profit of $12.2 billion; a clear indicator that those responsible for national health had put their interests first. They had ignored millions of suffering patients and an economy that was struggling with joblessness.
The Executives of These Insurance Giants Increased Their Benefits
During that period, the executives of UnitedHealth, Humana, and Cigna received almost $200 million in compensation while their companies sought rate increases.
Why would an insurance company increase the earnings of its leaders and transfer the cost to the rate payers? Worse, these raises came at a time when families and businesses were struggling with their finances. Sadly, industry officials argued that the hikes are justifiable due to the rising medical costs. Anthem Blue Cross, for example, increased their health insurance premiums by 39% in 2010. They cited increased medical expenses, but it was discovered that the rise was to cater for fancy retreats and bonuses.
Insurance Premiums For Small Employers Increased Greatly Between 1999-2009
Between 1999-2009, small companies in the US experienced an increase in health insurance premiums by 180%. During this time, major insurers in California raised their rates for organizations that had fewer than 50 employees, even though these small organizations lacked the financial muscle. According to the insurers, the hikes were fair as the companies needed to remain competitive.
Dental Insurance Has Put a Smile on People’s Faces
The industry has recently introduced dental savings. This service allows members to pay a yearly fee in exchange for dentists who charge lower rates.
A dental savings plan is designed for those who want to save on their dental care needs. With this service, members have been able to save from 10-60% of costs. Members have also enjoyed wider access to a network of dentists. Joining this plan allows you to save money on most senior dental care services and has other significant advantages.
While the health industry has been trying to justify the higher bills, more people agree that the profit motive has left most citizens in a miserable state. Dental insurance has attempted to cut costs, but that is not enough.