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Get Private Health Insurance Out of Medicareby Andrew Whiteman

Justice Word Engraved

Get Private Health Insurance Out of Medicare.

Professors Pamela Herd and Donald P. Moynihan of Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy have written in a New York Times op-ed that the involvement of private health insurers in providing Medicare benefits has greatly increased the complexity of the program and, as a result, the burden on consumers. Herd and Moynihan wrote:

Private insurers make Medicare extraordinarily confusing, increasing costs for beneficiaries and their own profits. When enrolling in Medicare, and then every subsequent year, beneficiaries are required to make a series of decisions regarding their coverage. Though there is a base benefit package, there are also many and varied options, ranging from which prescription drugs are covered to the amount of premiums, co-payments and deductibles. The plans also change every year.

Making the right choice means finding a match between your fluctuating health needs and the changing plans. It is as complicated as it sounds. Getting the best coverage for the lowest cost often requires switching plans nearly every year but very few people do this, leaving them with higher costs and less effective coverage. A study from the University of Pittsburgh, for instance, found that only 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in 2009 chose the cheapest plan that will cover their prescription drug needs.

Professors Herd and Moynihan’s main point is that a discussion of the administrative burden of our current health care system should be part of the public debate.

Click here for the Herd/Moynihan New York Times op-ed.

© Andrew Whiteman 2019

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