Premiums for the existing high-risk pools average several hundred dollars a month, higher than health coverage for healthy individuals. However, if risk pools are broadened to include more than just high-risk people, costs will decrease. Currently government provides part of the funding for high-risk pools.
Healthcare risk pools can be managed with very little government involvement, and for optimal efficiency should be administered at the local level. Several of the 35 state-level high-risk pools are managed by nonprofits, not the government. Federal high-risk insurance pools, which were started under the Obama administration in July 2010 through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program, have proven to be twice as costly as state-level pools. 18 states have opted to have the federal government run their high-risk pools.
Risk pools should be combined with high co-pays, like $50 or so per visit. This would create a disincentive for the type of people who run to the doctor for every little thing. There are some risk pools already in place in the private sector. Tellingly, some of them are managed by doctors.
Requiring employers to provide healthcare coverage is driving companies out of business in this dismal economy. It creates a disincentive for Americans to run their own small businesses. Even if small businesses do not have to provide healthcare for their employees, they still need healthcare for themselves. If employers were no longer required to provide healthcare insurance, everyone would buy into a risk pool instead.
ObamaCare is expected to terminate healthcare risk pools. In 2014, the ObamaCare provision making insurance mandatory for everyone goes into effect. Sadly, a real system of risk pools will have never been given a chance. Insurance companies will claim victory, confusing the public into thinking that costly high-risk insurance pools were the same thing as insurance pools for everyone. Yet as high as costs are for high-risk insurance pools, even they are lower than we will see under ObamaCare when the inefficient federal government bureaucracy takes over.
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