We all complain about the high cost of health care and health insurance. There really does seem to be no end in sight. Premiums go up, its harder to get the insurance company to pay claims, everyone is unhappy.
So whos to blame? The answer is we all are.
Im all for reducing costs in theory, but when it comes to me or my family, I want the best. Let someone else go to the unknown doctor down the street. If we are talking about someone cutting into my husbands back, that doctor better be good. And I dont care how much it costs.
And when Im sick? Please. I just want to feel better. While I know that antibiotics are useless for a virus, when Ive got a fever and even the thought of crawling to the shower wears me out, I want relief now. I really dont want to hear the virus just needs to run its course. Stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids.
But my demands for drugs I really dont need or the most expensive surgeons and best caregivers make a difference. Multiply what I do by everyone across the country contributes to the problem. Some have estimated that as much as 30% of all the health care given in this country is unnecessary. Tests, drugs, procedures, you name it: much of it didnt need to happen.
The result? The insurance companies are forced to pay for all this care. Since they are not about to give away the store, the costs are just passed on to you and me. And so our premiums keep going up.
To make matters worse, some of this unnecessary care results in a decline in health status. Thats just medical jargon for it causes other health problems. You have probably already figured out where this is going. Who pays for the cost of the treatment for all these new health problems? Certainly not the insurance company. Its all back to you and me.
So if we are really concerned about the high cost of health care and our health insurance premiums, then we all need to take ownership of our contribution to the problem. Instead of always immediately demanding an immediate solution, we need to accept it when the best solution may take a few days. Or take a little time to explore some alternatives. I know someone who dealt with a minor reflux issue by eating an apple a day. No need for expensive drugs.
If we all start to think about buying health care the way we buy everything else, we might think twice about how we use the services. Think of it this way. For almost everything else we buy, we shop around for the best price. If the guy in the computer store tells us we really dont need the fastest computer or all the bells and whistles on a smart phone, we generally take his advice. Thats because we are paying the bills.
When we buy health care, we demand the best or as much as we want because we think someone else is going to pay. But dont be fooled. The insurance company may pay for the services, but they get their money back through the cost of health insurance premiums we all pay. So the next time you need medical care, think about what demands you make, and maybe pass up that prescription for antibiotics you know you really dont need.