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Regretful Former Insurance Industry Calls Obamacare a "Boon" to Greedy Insurers

Posted Feb 18 2011 5:52pm

Former insurance industry executive Wendell Potter is a 20-year health insurance veteran who served in top public relations jobs at such firms as Cigna and Humana.  Today the New  York Times printed an excerpt from his sometimes-regretful tell all, in which he warns people to.....

 

1. completely ignore the marketing materials you receive from the insurers

2. steer clear of so-called  mini-med or limited-benefit plans, what he calls 'fake insurance' sold largely to individuals or through small employers

3. always appeal a coverage denial.

 

Potter expresses the fear that insurers will start denying even more claims and procedures, so consumers need to be aware of their right ot appeal, pointing out that "Insurers count on people just giving up."

 

On the (more) positive side, Potter says that before the new health care laws, it was virtually impossible for a person to get comparable information on various health plans, but now www.healthcare.gov is full of helpful materials -- it is even possible to you can plug in your information and get some preliminary comparisons for rates from different insurers where you live.

 

In the story he calls Obamacare"a huge boon to the insurance industry", saying of course they are not fighting the regulations and changes because the fact remains that millions of uninsured Americans will now have to buy insurance - a massive new profit base for everyone's favorite industry.

 

The people who will be buying these plans are, essentially, one of the reasons Potter says he left his job.

 

"I didn’t like having to be a spokesperson for these plans, because it was clear that many people with modest incomes could not afford them," he is quoted as saying. 

 

He gives as an example a a schoolteacher married to a man who is  self-employed with 5 children.  Their deductible was $11,000 so in effect they were uninsured, paying most of their health care bills out of pocket, which meant they coudln't afford the $858 monthly premium. They had to give up their health care insurance in order to afford the out-of-pocket costs!

 

Potter says that more and more people are forgoing insurnace all together when confronted with this 'fake coverage' which is ultimately bad for everyone.

 

"People who don’t get the care they need are more likely to have an emergency, driving up health care costs."

 

Hospital Angeles says that most patients save $5,000 or more on the out of pocket costs they would have faced in the US, a trade they are happy to make for the five star health care of Mexico's largest private hospital network. 

 

Experts continue to predice medical travel growth will 'fill the insurance gaps' that  American insurers have created. No longer the bastion of cheap cosmetic surgery, patients, faced with skyrocketing US health care costs, now go abroad for every type of sophisticated health care, including 3 week alternative cancer treatment programs and stem cell treatments for chronic disease conditions such as heart failure and COPD.

Aetna is just one company turning to medical travel to make its offerings more attractive. 

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