Thursday, March 8, 2012

We Have Health Backwards

Once again I am filling out health insurance forms and several things struck me as not-as-good-as-possible.

First, the health insurance forms that I have filled out over the last couple of jobs amount to the most paperwork of any forms that my employer companies request of me. I suppose the idea is to give me a choice of healthcare options and because there is the opportunity that my healthcare costs will be greater to the insurance company than my salary is to the company. However, my insurance costs to the company will be less than my salary costs to the company. It just seems like the papers of my qualifications and employment should amount to more than my health insurance.

Second, the professionally produced health brochure had people doing core work on the front and a runner inside. Yet only page 18 of 20 was devoted to preventative health services such as weight loss and smoking cessation. All of that literature about tier two and three drug insurance coverage but hardly anything that says "get out and do something aerobic!" My 2011 health care costs were $0 and it is projected to be the same in 2012, although I do want a full blood test at some point. I will not promise that exercise will make you healthy, but it certainly reduces the risk for a heart attack from high cholesterol and the risk of diabetes, which are likely my #1 and #2 health risk factors in my life outside of mountains and drivers who hate runners.

Third, relating to the previous one there really seems to be a disconnect between preventative health and curative health. I'm thinking of the book "Let My People Go Surfing" by Yvon Chiounard. I'm guessing that the employees of Patagonia spend some of the least per person on health problems out of every company in the country.

Fourth, and finally, the healthcare and insurance business itself seems a little flawed. No one gets paid if everyone is healthy. There is a lot of money in sickness, pills, surgery, rehab, and infections. There is also enough money in pharmapseudicals and insurance that there are many for profit companies in the market. While I like for profit companies, health seems too personal to make a profit on top of all the employee salaries. Ultimately there is the question, of the option good for the company and the option good for the person if you have to choose, which do you choose? Thus, I am not in healthcare.

This is another area I certainly don't have many answers and what I feel works for me will likely not work for others, even scaled to a manageable level. Yet, it seems we could do better.

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