October 2004 Issue --> Health & Fitness Article
Healthcare Hope for the Uninsured
By: PlanB For Health


70 million Americans are underinsured or uninsured, and of those, at least 41 million have no health coverage at all. Many who are oriented toward alternative and holistic healthcare are going without health insurance because preventive and alternative services are not covered. Entrepreneurs and the self-employed are also among the most likely to go without health insurance because of ever-rising premiums.
Even those with employer-paid health insurance are finding that their companies are reducing health insurance benefits, or cutting them altogether. The sad truth is that the people who are often least equipped to deal with this problem, are facing the burden of higher premiums, and reduced or eliminated benefits.
Many assume that this is because of doctors and drug companies unfairly setting high prices, more people getting sick and requiring care, more people living longer and hardship cases, all of which put additional strain on the healthcare system.
Much of this is true, however the biggest reason and best-kept secret of why costs are spiraling out of control, is insurance discounts and fee collection administration. Some research shows that hospitals and physicians receive about 50% net after insurance company negotiated discounts and the time and administration costs of collecting those fees. Providers raise their rates to accommodate these discounts and costs. Those who have no health insurance and don’t qualify for welfare pay the highest retail price for medical services, in some cases double what the insurance companies are paying.
To meet the needs of the uninsured and underinsured, a new industry has sprung up, offering affordable non-insurance healthcare protection for individuals and families. At the heart of these programs is the concept that a cash-paying patient/customer can receive the same network discounts formerly only claimed by insurance companies. With membership in a non-insurance healthcare program, members may have access to hundreds of thousands of providers nationwide, and receive discounts of 20-50% or more off the usual scheduled fees. These discounts can apply to services offered by physicians, hospitals, dental and vision providers, hearing centers and pharmacies.
In fact, more and more providers are opting out of accepting insurance and offering services to patients who pay cash with discounts that would otherwise go to the insurance companies.
Benefits will often include value-added services such as 24-hour nurse hotline, individual and family counseling, emergency travel assistance, and medical information retrieval. One especially significant service for the uninsured is patient advocacy. A patient advocate will help those facing a catastrophic healthcare issue to navigate through the medical, financial and legal waters to get the help they need at a negotiated price and payment plan, often utilizing government or private sources.
Those that can afford insurance should get it, yet those who are going without, due either to cost or eligibility, can benefit from an affordable non-insurance healthcare plan. For employers, such plans are a viable and affordable alternative to reducing or cutting benefits for employees, and a way for those that offer no health benefit for their employees, to give employees at least some help. This solution combines the benefits of managed care and free choice.
PlanB for Health, of Fairfield, Iowa offers 5 non-insurance healthcare plans. Their plans include discounts of up to 30% from a network of 25,000 chiropractic and alternative providers. Other significant PlanB for Health benefits include accident medical expense which pays up to $10,000 in claims for accident-related medical claims with only $100 deductible; emergency helicopter transport; critical illness benefit which will pay up to $5,000 on diagnosis of a critical illness; and accident disability which pays a weekly benefit for up to 26 weeks in the event of an injury which results in a partial or complete inability to work. Their family plans range from $11.95 to $84.95 a month, and they offer a 30 day risk-free trial. Medical savings programs like PlanB for Health encourage self-sufficiency and may eventually drive down the cost of care as they make it less expensive for healthcare providers to deliver services. For more information: www.planbforhealth.com, or 800-641-9081 ext. 13.
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