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Medical Inflation on Intercept Trajectory with Wage Earners

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 25, 2010

Even people with health insurance may forego care because they can't pay the high deductibles—a particularly heinous example of "cost containment"—that makes the idea of preventive medicine a cruel joke for those who can't afford $115 or more out-of-pocket for a proactive visit to their physician's office. Speaking of which, good luck finding a primary health provider who is taking new patients. If you find one, the wait may be as long as 18 months for a well patient exam.

Some time in the next few days or weeks, Americans lucky enough to have a job that provides health insurance will trudge into their company meeting rooms to learn how much more they will have to pay for a vital benefit that many already cannot afford. HR directors across the nation should drop the bad news at the same time so we can have a national day of mourning. It would allow our overworked, overstressed, underpaid workforce a shared moment of commiseration as their financial burden gets a little heavier, their paycheck gets a little lighter, and they adjust to the anxiety that comes with praying they don't get sick.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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