Newest health insurance plans may involve low deductibles and co-pay, yet do not provide a great value overall. The lower prices exchange for higher annual premiums which seems beneficial for all parties. However, this approach is leading patients with chronic conditions to choose unnecessary expensive treatments that are not helping them. Since they are not getting the results they want and need, they will have to go back for more which is making costs for the insurer skyrocket. This will only impact the future of the insured.
Authors at the University of Toronto, Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business examined an anonymous United States health insurer and the data they provided on the insurance plan and treatment options for patients with chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses include cancer, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, respiratory diseases, kidney disease, heart disease, etc. These conditions account for almost 75 percent of health care expenditures in the United States. In the authors study, Dr. Jian Ni discovered “about 14 percent of the chronically ill customers in our sample who only had moderate illness chose a comprehensive plan and ended up using expensive treatments, even if the incremental health benefit over a less expensive treatment was not major” (Science Daily, 2017). The researchers found that patients were likely to choose this plan because of the price, but also because of their lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of their treatments. The patients would typically ask their doctors for the best treatment, which likely involve the most expensive one but with the most reasonable and generous insurance plan.
Cutting the costs for chronic illness treatment is especially tricky. It is immoral to penalize an individual for a factor that he/she has no control over.
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