In the movies an actor gets hit on the head or survives an accident and wakes up saying “What happened?” In reality, a person walks out to the mailbox and looks at a medical bill that wipes out years of savings and asks the same thing Elderly care at home. “What happened?”
It’s the same for any American that resides in the bottom 98% of estimated wealth; one injury, one illness, or one accident can wipe out years of accumulated savings.
The leading cause of bankruptcy in the US? Medical bills
Does the vast majority of those who declare bankruptcy have health insurance? Yes
Meanwhile large numbers of doctors, lawyers, health insurance company executives and pharmaceutical company executives have gamed the system to reap millions of dollars.
“Obamacare” was hailed (by Democrats, at least) as the solution to many of the problems posed by the health care behemoth but it’s off to a horrendous start as insurers jack up their rates in anticipation of the program’s start. Blue Shield of California announced rate increases that would hike rates for 158,000 policy holders. Of those, premiums are set to increase by over 50% for 44,000 people. Blue Shield has since delayed theincreases from their planned start date due to public outcry but the rate hikes are coming. Blue Shield recently agreed to postpone the hike from March 1st to May 1st. Obamacare related rate hikes aren’t isolated to California either. Health insurance companies across the country have already announced plans to raise premiums substantially because of this new program.
The Republicans hated Obamacare (remember the hand wringing over death panels?) but haven’t come up with anything to take its place.
The current system is so entrenched and so well funded at the legislative level that getting to the root cause and fixing the system may be next to impossible. Another issue is that the system is so convoluted that most people have no understanding of how it works. What they do understand is how much it costs to be insured and how much more it costs if there is a hospital stay. As many have found, racking up a five figure medical bill after insurance is easy. People are also discovering how aggressive the health care industry has become in terms of collecting what is owed to them.
The story is being told over and over again in bankruptcy courts across the country. People who have paid thousands in insurance premiums find that they have been wiped out by a single medical event. The problem is, no one has the answer to the question “What happened?”