by Heather Pitre, WHF Events and Communications Specialist
According to Congress, it costs too much. In a recent post on the Washington Post Wonkblog, Sarah Kiff talks about Congress closing health reform's Consumer Assistance Program. The price tag was too high. Texas received a $2.8 million grant and, with it, hired nine employees who handled about 6,000 phone calls. That adds up to $466 per phone call. In Texas, the average individual policyholder pays $203 in annual commissions to a health insurance broker, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data. This is costly, compared with the national average of $145 annually.
In another recent blog post for the New York Times Economix blog, Princeton professor Uwe Reinhart states,
Choice among private health insurers in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland is straightforward and relatively inexpensive in terms of time and money, because price comparisons are based on a common benefit package. More customized coverage can be purchased, but only in the form of supplements to the common package.
Choice in the United States is expensive, because it requires prospective enrollees to do near-Talmudic studies of the fine print of each insurer’s offerings — many times multiple distinct offerings per insurer.
Here in Washington state, we're doing things differently. Our Personal Health Advocates can help you navigate the complex health insurance system, at no cost to you! We're not a government agency. We're not a for-profit company. We're the non-profit Washington Health Foundation, and we're here to help. Call us at 855-WA-HEALTH.