A brief foray into health economics. I saw this posted on Linked In as showing that new enrollees under the Affordable Care Act were less healthy than previous individual enrollees. It’s clearly a pitch by Blue Cross/Blue Shield to argue that they are overburdened by the new program. Yet a quick glance supports a much more positive view–the new enrollees appear to have similar health conditions as those who get health care through their jobs.
The fear was that the ACA would attract individuals who are much less healthy to the insurance market and costs would skyrocket disproportionately. Instead this shows that these costs shouldn’t rise any more than if more people were employed or under employer-based plans.
It also shows the high level of discrimination that existed in individual plans previously. Only the healthy could get insurance.
So why is access to health insurance actually important? Because the insurance companies negotiate much lower prices for services than individuals can get. It’s market power vs. market power. The uninsured are left to fend for themselves and too often get gouged.