About two years ago, when my then-health insurance carrier wrote me announcing yet another rate increase significantly above the rate of of inflation, I called to complain and asked why I couldn’t get a discount for my good health and physical fitness. They told me the company was prevented by law from offering such discounts.
To that end, in his one-page summary of sensible health-care reform, Jeffrey Anderson offers a simple cost-free solution to make health insurance more competition:
Allow lower premiums for healthier lifestyles. Existing federal regulations ban private companies from offering more than a 20 percent discount to those who eat and drink in moderation, exercise, or don’t smoke. Such regulations handcuff private efforts to reward healthier lifestyles and to thereby cut health costs — and they should be eliminated.
Via Jennifer Rubin. Not only would this allow health insurance companies to offer more policies, but it would also promote healthier lifestyles and discourage obesity without nanny-state style regulations (e.g., limiting the types of foods restaurants can offer). If there’s a financial incentive to staying in shape (as in lower insurance costs for fit people), more people might slim down to save a dime.
While the George Soros-funded HCAN runs TV ads says that a government (AKA public) plan is necessary to increase competition, actually the opposite is true. Less government involvement in the health care market would allow companies to offer more choices, thus increasing competition. And likely lowering costs as well.
Even a New York Times article about a Colorado woman who “was denied insurance by one company because she had had a Caesarean birth” shows how this is so:
She was turned down because she had given birth by Caesarean section. Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, Golden Rule did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified.
Ms. Robertson had been shopping around for individual health insurance, the kind that people buy on their own. She already had insurance but was looking for a better rate. After being rejected by Golden Rule, she kept her existing coverage. . . .
In a letter to Ms. Robertson, Golden Rule, which sells individual policies in 30 states, said it would insure a woman who had had a Caesarean only if it could exclude paying for another one for three years. But in Colorado, such exclusions are considered discriminatory and are forbidden, so Golden Rule simply rejects women who have had the surgery, unless they have been sterilized or meet the company’s age requirements.
You may recognize Ms. Robertson; she appeared in a pro-Obamacare ad produced by Americans United for Change. (Jim Hoft has more on this disingenuous ad.) The problem here is not the insurance company (as the ad claims), but the state of Colorado which limits the kinds of policies insurers may offer.
It’s not that government isn’t doing enough, it’s that it’s doing too much. To have a more competitive market for health insurance–and to encourage healthy lifestyles, we don’t need more government involvement in the health care market, we need less.
*& for reform in any industry.