Is debt for medical bills different than other debt?

Unjust? If there is any doubt Americans view spending money on health care differently than any other spending, here’s the proof. Sen Sanders is Tweeting the case as well.

With the move to high deductible health insurance plans many workers could have a higher out-of-pocket costs. However, that out-of-pocket potential liability can be planned for.

“The system is rigged against them, for real,” Sesso said. “Medical debt is uniquely American and it’s a by-product of the broken financing of our healthcare system.” Unlike other types of consumer debt, medical bills are hard to predict and hard to prevent, even for people with health insurance.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/debgordon/2021/10/13/50-of-americans-now-carry-medical-debt-a-new-chronic-condition-for-millions/?sh=5b362d215e5d

Nothing is rigged. We need a better system true, but what we have is not rigged. Hard to predict? The incurrence of health care, yes, but for most people there is a known potential personal out-of-pocket cost and that amount can be part of the family budget – but it rarely is.

Medicare for All? Okay, but people on Medicare have out-of-pocket costs too, they pay Part A and B deductibles and coinsurance with no limit on out-of-pocket costs.

To limit these risks beneficiaries pay $200 or so a month extra for deductible and co-pay coverage. Many have thousands in prescription costs. Others look for more coverage at the expense of losing unlimited access to health care providers.

So why is Medicare for All the assumed solution for medical debt? It was never intended to cover 100% of bills. Any system that seems to make out-of-pocket costs disappear simply means they are now in taxes and premiums.

The fact is individuals do not see paying for health care as their obligation whether they have the money or not. Paying health care bills takes money that could be used for more pleasurable things. In that context all health care is unaffordable and always will be. The individual who “can’t afford” a $30.00 co-pay readily spends that amount elsewhere – and not on necessities.

8 comments

  1. Again, one more time, people think someone else should pay for medical care. “I want the best coverage YOUR money will buy”!

    This lack of willingness to save in anticipation of out of pocket costs was worsened by idiots like President Obama who, in the lead up to health reform, once said tax preferred saving in Health Savings Accounts wasn’t appropriate for most Americans.

    When your President says someone else should pay, and you shouldn’t have to save, what are you supposed to think?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Medical costs should be planned for like any other cost. However, the cost of medical care is not transparent. The same procedure can vary widely in cost depending on where one goes for the procedure, but such a thing can be difficult to research. This is a big issue. I am glad for the new “no medical surprise bill” law. I’ve gotten surprise medical bills – even after registering and providing all my insurance info well in advance. Had I known in advance of the additional fees, I would have looked for other options.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That can usually be dealt with by verifying in advance that your provider participates in your insurance plan. In which case there can be no balance bill behind any copay. Even if they do not participate, I often got them to accept insurance amount on behalf of employees.

      Dick Richard D Quinn Blogging at Quinnscommentary.net and HumbleDollar.com Twitter @quinnscomments

      >

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our society is poorly informed and prefers reading and listening to those who tell them what they wish to hear, rather than what they need to hear. You are doing the latter.

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  4. About 50 years ago, I worked for a while as a collections/repossession guy for a mobile home finance company. I often had to go bang on the door of folks who were chronically late payers. I would sometimes look in their credit app on file to get leads as to where to find them. Many would have loads of doctor/medical bills showing in the file. Once I asked the collection manager how these people got approved for a loan to start with and mentioned all the doctor bills as an example. He said “oh, nobody pays doctors”. That stuck with me all these years and it has been my experience that people would rather be hanged by their thumbs than pay a medical bill. It is nothing new.

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    1. Nothing new indeed. I started working with people and their health care claims in 1961 and it surly is nothing new.

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    2. I guess its true. If you save my life, and I don’t pay, what are you going to do, repossess my life and kill me. So why should I pay you.
      What a mentality.

      Liked by 1 person

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