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Health Care Revolution Inevitable, Around the Corner, Howard Beale Moment

by John on 06/02/2015

American healthcare is about to have its Howard Beale moment.

In the 1976 film, Network, Beale, the fictional network news anchor played by Peter Finch, told viewers to open their windows and shout, “I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore.”

Most of us don’t shout out windows. We do something; we make it happen; we do what we have to do.

The latest news from the health insurance industry should have many of us re-thinking our role not only as healthcare consumers but as a nation trying to stay healthy financially and physically.

Here’s what is just happening in the last few days:

The New York Times reports that many health insurers are asking for major increases in premiums for next year.

At the same time, a number of the major insurers, and there aren’t that many, are up for sale.

Health insurance companies are the next Blockbuster – the now defunct video rental chain, according to Author Steven Brill. In his book, America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, Brill says more consolidations are on the way which will raise the cost of healthcare further while also forcing consumers to find new alternatives.

What is this all leading to? Higher healthcare costs for the average American despite the so-called Affordable Care Act.

Why is this trend in health insurance happening?

Insurers can’t keep healthcare costs down – nor do they want to.

First, health insurance companies are middlemen taking a profit for their efforts. But those profits are keeping costs artificially higher and vice versa. Those costs will only soar now that fewer insurers will be around: less supply and more demand means higher prices.

Second, the demand for healthcare will surge in the next 5 to 20 years as Baby Boomers grow old and need more care.

What’s the result? Medical costs will skyrocket forcing consumers to find other ways to take care of themselves – like Liberty Health Share.

Liberty Health Share is not insurance. It is medical cost sharing. A community of people come together to take care of each other’s medical bills. We accept most pre-existing conditions and medical cost sharing is allowable under the Affordable Care Act.

Some disclosure here: I am a member of Liberty Health Share which means other members pay my health bills and, in turn, my monthly share amount goes to their medical bills. In addition, my company NOWtv is under contract with Liberty Health Share to provide audio and video content.

Liberty Health Share, from my vantage point, is about to change our nation’s healthcare landscape. And I haven’t even mentioned the chance that the Supreme Court could knock down the Affordable Care Act later this month, which appears to be a possibility. And that’s a whole other case of chaos that Liberty Health Share could solve as well. But let’s worry about that when it happens.

There are enough factors right now to change the way we deal with healthcare.

Bert McComas is a medical industry analyst who teaches people how to be medically self-sufficient. In other words, Bert says you don’t need health insurance. You can become a self-pay patient and negotiate better deals with doctors and healthcare facilities. This is what Liberty Health Share does.

But Bert told me that the majority of people who have health insurance are already self-pay patients. “Deductibles have increased by 10 times in a short period of time.”

Premiums, according to some estimates, are closing in on 25% of the average workers’ income. And deductibles are so high, if you should get sick or injured, you are paying out thousands in premiums and deductibles before your insurance even kicks in. “They’re being squeezed out,” he told me. “I think the consumer is ready to act on their own.”

Kathleen Donnelly, of Orlando, Florida, agrees. She is a member of Liberty Health Share but she also sells health insurance. The health insurance products she sells “were not going to work” for her and her boyfriend Greg Chappell, because of the high deductibles and premiums.

With Liberty Health Share, their monthly costs dropped by $800 a month. Their out of pocket expenses went from $4,500 for each of them, so $9,000 combined, to $1,000 as a couple with Liberty Health Share.

Here’s a video explaining how Liberty Health Share dropped my upfront costs in a similar way while also making sure my bills up to $1 million per medical incident are paid.

But that wasn’t the real savings that Kathleen and Greg saw. They could have been looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars of bills – and no way to pay for it.

Greg, at 54, had a heart attack. Two stents and a couple of hospital stays later, their bills were more than $300,000. Liberty Health Share re-priced those bills to less than $50,000 – and all of that was paid by members of Liberty Health Share – after they paid their $1,000 unshared amount.

At one time, long before his heart attack, Greg was philosophically opposed to the Affordable Care Act which he said was “a law that was shoved down our throats.” He reluctantly agreed to be a member at Kathleen’s insistence. “I was ready to pay the fines,” he told me.

But was he ready to pay all those hospital bills? “We would have been broke,” Kathleen told me if they hadn’t become members of Liberty Health Share.

Think about that. Fewer people suffering from financial debt.

How about freeing up the economy with less healthcare costs?

Another member, Scott Zimmerman, witnessed the reduction in his medical bills after he had emergency surgery for a ruptured polyp. I recall seeing numbers that just blew my mind. There were thousands of dollars reduced to hundreds.”

Here’s a video we produced on Scott’s experience.

Think about that. Healthcare costs being reduced up front and on the back-end. It’s like pumping a tax break into the economy. That money could be used to start a business or allow someone to present themselves to an employer with their healthcare costs taken care of.

Dale Bellis, Executive Director and Founder of Liberty Health Share, explained to me one reason why costs have been so high for so long.

“The biggest flaw with a third party (insurance) pay system is that it is an entitlement program. We didn’t care about the cost because someone else – the government or our employer — was paying for it. Once we change that mindset, then we can see medical costs going down.”

Even though medical cost sharing has its roots in 19th Century America, people sharing each other’s medical costs on the prairie and farms, the concept is still archaic.

First, there is no guarantee. You have no contract. If you stop paying your monthly share amount as a member, then no one will help you pay your bills. It is an act of faith in your fellow members.

Second, you are still responsible for your medical bills. You are a self-pay patient. That might be scary for some folks.

Still, the concept is beginning to get traction. A local TV station in Tulsa, OK produced and aired an investigative piece on medical cost sharing and found that it delivered lower costs without hurting care for members.

We have apparently decided that the health insurance industry and government have had their chance at making healthcare viable. Now it is time for the consumer to take charge – shouting out a window or not.

More to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Want to find out more, call 888-616-9443.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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