United To Offer Insurance Against Health Insurance

Dec 3 2008 - 2:52pm
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Here is a good news for doctors, Unitedhealth group is planning to offer "insurance" that you can buy health insurance in the future.

CT physicians are getting some relief in their medical malpractice rates, according to today’s Hartford Courant. Most will see no increase next year and some will save money. Unfortunately, those savings are not expected to pass onto consumers. Employers and workers face six to seven percent increases in premiums next year.

Other news about doctors -- the most viewed article from yesterday’s NY Times is “Arrogant, Abusive and Disruptive – and a Doctor.” While the majority of physicians are well-mannered and respectful, a small minority who intimidate staff and refuse to do their jobs are reported to be responsible for low morale, workplace stress, and medical errors. Thankfully, the problem appears to be improving.

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Today’s NY Times includes a report that United Health Care plans to offer people the option to pay now for the right to purchase individual insurance in the future, even if you become sick. You have to be well now and pass a medical review. The new product, called UnitedHealth Continuity, is not insurance but just the right to buy insurance in the future and will cost 20% of the current cost of individual coverage.

There is no price guarantee for the eventual insurance coverage. United expects UnitedHealth Continuity to appeal to people who have insurance now but are worried they may lose it in the future. The author points out that it may not be a good value for consumers and that national health reform may make the product obsolete.

"'What this product is designed to do, for a very modest premium, is to essentially protect your insurability for the future,' said Richard A. Collins, the president of UnitedHealth’s individual insurance unit, who says he is the first policy holder. His monthly fee is $50."

United is applying to sell this product in CT.

The author Ellen Andrews, PhD, has been Executive Director of the CT Health Policy Project since its inception in 1999. Her experience includes positions in consumer advocacy, policy analysis, direct health care services, legislative staff, and academic research.

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