Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE
My last blog about individual healthcare insurance policies generated a lot of comments from young people starting up a business and individuals operating their own business at home. I also received several from entrepreneurs looking to start a business.
One person wrote,
"Dear Dr. Feld
So we have now learned that high deductible plans are what people should be purchasing. We also learned that they should be self insuring for $10,000 which is the highest deductible insurance at the lowest price.
Over $10,000 is where are at the greatest financial risk. True insurance should cover our greatest risk.
I would like to know where is the business opportunity is for an Internet company that runs social networks?
I said the world belongs to young people 20-50 years old. They also understand the power and mechanics of social networking.
If there was a social network dedicated to describing the advantages and disadvantages of the healthcare insurance options available to the unemployed, self- employed and under insured there would be many members. If those members had the ability to have input it would grow even larger with appropriate marketing.
I have not figured out how social networking sites make money except through advertising. I imagine many companies would like to get the attention of these consumers who are seeking healthcare insurance advice.
It has been reported that people change their job up to 8 times during their career. More and more people are in start-up businesses and need healthcare insurance for their employees. Many people are becoming consultants and are self-employed. They all need healthcare insurance for their family.
President Obama’s answer to the problem is the government will provide the healthcare insurance for you. Healthcare insurance is a right as an American.
There are several problems with this statement. The government cannot afford to provide adequate healthcare insurance for the entire population.
Britain has proved it. They are reverting back to a pay for service system. The socialist democrats in Europe have proved that. Each country is going bankrupt.
The business opportunity would be to teach the people who are self-insured or uninsured about the rip off of the healthcare insurance industry and to teach them how to save money.
How many start up companies do you guess are uninsured or under insured or not insured for catastrophic illness because they cannot afford the healthcare insurance premiums?
The chances are many start up employees will not get sick. True healthcare insurance should be a hedge against catastrophic illness.
If someone gets sick in a company, the company could pay the employee for the amount he spent before they reached the full deduction.
The high deductible individual policy is not tax deductible. If it were made tax deductible by citizen demand to congress through social networking the voice of the individual could be heard. Congress might be forced to act.
Start up companies and other companies would save money. These companies would be placed on the same playing field as companies who pay for employee insurance with pre tax dollars. The social network could even form an association of self-employed companies and enjoy the tax benefits and purchasing power of large corporations.
This would represent a threat to the healthcare insurance industry. They would do everything to stop. So would the government.
If you do the math for the government, the government would be saving much more money than it would collecting taxes.
An appropriate social network could stop the healthcare insurance industry's grotesque business model in its tracks.
It could save billions of dollars. It could create incentive for people to take better care of themselves.
Many large and small companies are self-insured. The law lets these companies deduct their healthcare insurance with pre tax dollars. These companies could offer my ideal medical saving account with a $7,500 trust account. They could then reinsure employees for over $7,500 with a reinsurance company.
Employees would obtain first dollar coverage after the deductible is reached.
I suspect even the traditional insurance companies would provide the re-insurance. These healthcare companies have already negotiated fees with physicians, hospitals and drug companies.
If the healthcare insurance industry did not provide re-insurance its negotiated fees could be obtained easily.
The large corporations, who are self-insured, all have HR officers. The HR officers I have met either do not seem to have the bandwidth to investigate the possibility of the ideal medical saving account structure or they are trapped into outsourcing the details of the corporation’s self-insured healthcare plans to middlemen. I have a feeling the commitments of some with middlemen are long term.
If all this could happen it would be an important first step in the development of social networking in healthcare and medical care.
Consumers need education for the care of their chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease and chronic gastrointestinal diseases. Many of these diseases are a result of obesity.
If social networking could discourage the ever-increasing incidence of obesity, society would decrease healthcare costs dramatically.
If patients learned how to manage their own disease the cost of medical care would decrease precipitously.
Many drug companies and medical device companies would advertise on these social networking sites.
Consumers must drive the healthcare system in order for the healthcare system to be repaired. Not government or the healthcare insurance industry.
Consumers feel powerless at present. Empowering consumers through social networking will disrupt the entire healthcare systems supply chain for the better.
Consumers are up against a government that wants to tell them what they have to do. They are up against healthcare insurance companies that charge obscene premiums. They are up against hospitals, physicians and emergency rooms that have exorbitant charges.
Consumers are up against diseases such as obesity which precipitates many chronic diseases.
Consumers are frustrated and need leadership and guidance.
The phenomenal growth in social networking can give consumers the tool they need to control their health and drive the healthcare system.
Social networking is the only way to start a consumer driven healthcare movement. It has to happen before the medical care system is destroyed.
The young people expert (20-50 years old) in social networking have to become engaged.
Those young people have to understand physician mentality and the importance of the patient physician relationship.
I will be happy to help in any way I can.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” is, mine and mine alone
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