The election of Barack Obama as President-elect will mean some sort of potential changes for our health care industry. Certain privately held companies are already taking precautions by shifting around costs. Several senior citizens who I know are being dropped by their Humana supplier of their Medicare supplement. These are not folks who have seen the unemployment line and never asked for any kind of major public assistance. They have been working for over sixty years in some cases and do have a nest egg as far as savings, but I suppose only some would consider them “wealthy.” Humana has sent out a letter already predicting the changes that an Obama Administration will make as reason to drop some of their clients. They also cite the rising number of cases that they have to handle as another reason for the dropping of clients. These two cost shifts are understandable in these uncertain times, but the third reason cited in the letter gives some cause for concern.
Humana makes note of the difficulty that many of their clients had in signing up for the right kind of Medicare supplement as a reason to remove folks from their rolls that affects the medical billing and even delays the health insurance claiming for hospital bills that are generally at higher side in undeveloped regions which is quite difficult to pay by an average person.
In other words because people are elderly and somewhat confused and forgetful they aren’t our problem any more. This reasoning is akin to developing a show for Nickelodeon and not catering to kids. If I was in the health care business I would most certainly target the elderly as clients to help and make as comfortable as possible. In no way am I bemoaning the health care industry and it’s free market solutions. I find our current system to be far more preferable to a Canadian single payer system. Bureaucracy can be a problem. I am merely questioning the logic Humana is using when they developed their current business model. I certainly don’t see how the idea of kicking as many old people off their books as possible can be a positive step forward for their company.
The television ads for Humana have not changed to notify folks of these changes. Humana still does make it easy for people to switch plans if they need assistance as noted on their website. My hope is that these changes specified in this letter just deal with a few random hospitals and carriers in the area as opposed to a large swath of people. I’m sure this was all an overreaction on my part. The health care industry is probably a buzz with all kinds of rumors right now.