Spring 2019: Heads Up on Health – Important Healthcare Updates You NEED to Know

by Sandra E. Henderson, RHU

Happy New Year Everyone!  I have some important healthcare/insurance updates for you so here you go.

Individuals are still required to have health insurance but, as of 2019 the penalty amount is 0.  Go figure that one out. I’m still a huge advocate of protecting oneself financially with health insurance, even a high deductible can be the difference between losing your home and keeping it. Paying off $6000 is easier than $100,000 and that is not a hard amount to get up to when cancer or some other expensive treatment is required.

HSA’s (health savings accounts) are still one of our best resources for spending tax free dollars on healthcare.  I feel like the government gets that (at least for now) and they’ll be around for a while.  Maximum contribution allowances continue to go up for them, so that’s good.  My husband and I saved quite a bit over that last few years and now in his retirement, we have money to help pay for Medicare Parts B & D and it can also be used for paying Long Term Care Insurance premiums. It’s a great Medical Retirement fund!

I know Single Payer Health System is all the buzz now so I think you need to understand what that means and what it isn’t. We have a new Governor here in California that believes this system is the way to go and that is dangerous.

While it can sound really great to have healthcare free and free for everyone, it comes with a huge cost and you need to know how it would affect access to care and quality of care.

First of all, it’s not Universal Healthcare which is what England, France, & Germany are and includes the following:       

  • National Health Service
  • Government owns many providers/hospitals
  • Most specialists are salaried employees
  • Supplement coverage for quicker access-private hospitals
  • Elective procedures have long waits
  • Coinsurance, copays, balance billing
  • Coverage is mandatory

Canada is the only true Single Payer System.  This is what it looks like:

  • Primary Care Physicians are the gatekeepers. Everything goes through them.
  • System doesn’t cover RX and other benefits
  • 67% buy supplemental coverage
  • Government sets provider reimbursement. They are the “single payer of all healthcare
  • No insurers or carriers
  • No need for health insurance delivery system…no agents to help you out
  • There is no Medicare…we are all under the same system and benefits are the same for everyone

The cost of Single Payer is astronomical and would double the budget here in California-not the healthcare budget the total budget for the state.  Guess where that money comes from?  More taxes to the taxpayers.  It has been calculated that most all the taxpayers in the state would pay an additional $9,000 per year, that’s $36,000 for a family of 4.  Fortunately for now, even the people on the hill haven’t figured out how to pay for this one. 

There have been other states in the past who have bought into the idea of Single Payer and once they, the taxpayers, got all the facts, realized it couldn’t work. 

Beyond the additional tax burden, healthcare itself would deteriorate.  We would have a lack of providers and wait lists would be very long just to get needed care. There is a website you can go to:   protectcahealthcare.org    It has some information to help you understand and there is also a petition to sign that says, we don’t want Single Payer in California.

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