Now that The Affordable Care Act (called Obamacare by many) is law, and the deadline for all Americans to have a health policy is pretty much now, do we all still have to carry additional policies to cover our health? All over the US, even in states like Massachusetts where universal health care has been law for many years, Americans are paying thousands of dollars per year to insure themselves against injury and illness – on top of their health insurance policies. Can’t we stop all that duplicitous coverage now?
Have you ever stopped to wonder how many types of medical and injury insurance policies you pay for? You may assume that your “health insurance” is all that you pay for that insures you and others you interact with for medical care, but you would be mistaken. In fact, you likely pay now for health insurance many times over, starting with your auto insurance policy.
Take a look at your auto insurance policy. Mine is written in Mass. and all policies are all required to be the same by state law. The very first thing mentioned is “Bodily injury to others.” Then comes “Personal injury protection.” Next is “Bodily injury caused by an un-insured auto.” Looking a little lower is “Medical Payments” and then “Optional bodily injury to others” followed by “Bodily injury caused by and Under-insured Auto.” Wow. All of these are insurance to insure you and others in case of an injury to a person. It makes up fully $310 of the $539 that I pay annually to insure my seven year old compact sport ute. That is more than half of the policy cost. Since I have 2 cars I pay double that even though I can only drive one at a time and there are no other covered drivers in my household. But wait a minute. Don’t all Americans now have mandatory health care policies that pay the cost of their medical treatment? Therefore isn’t all of this (or most of it) a repeat of coverage we are all already buying?
Your auto insurance is only one of the added ways that you already pay to cover medical costs. Another is workman’s compensation insurance. In Mass., like many states, all contractors are required to insure their workers to cover the cost of injuries on the job. Looking at a policy that the handyman who works on my house sometimes has it also covers disease. So not only is this worker covered by health insurance under Obamacare by law, he is also covered by an additional health insurance policy while he is at work, which is about a third of the time a person is awake. When that worker is in a vehicle, he is also covered by the automotive insurance policy. So while the worker is driving on the job he has three health care insurance plans. Why?
Now let’s consider our home owner’s policy. You must have this if you have a mortgage, and most homeowners think of it as protection from the loss of their home in case of fire. However, a look at the policy shows that medical payments to others ($50 on my policy) is part of the premium. That is about 10% of the cost. So if a worker is in a vehicle on my property he is actually covered by 4 insurance policies in the event that worker becomes ill or is injured. This seems like madness, and an incredible waste of money.
We as a nation have already decided to go forward with universal health care for all Americans. Can we now step back and start to eliminate all the duplicate coverage we have been paying for all along and simply have one policy to cover each individual?
Still image and video courtesy of the White House and Youtube.com