Mike Cote's Business Editor's Notebook: Shopping for a colonoscopy
While sipping my morning coffee Friday, I heard a radio commercial for a local imaging center that was pitching its lower prices as compared with its rivals. The characters in the commercial were talking about how they needed to be watchful of the price due to the high deductibles in their insurance plans.
The 30-second spot reminded me of the impassioned speech Nick Vailas gave Thursday to about 160 people gathered at Southern New Hampshire University during a 3 1/2-hour forum on the Affordable Care Act and how it is changing the health insurance marketplace.
"In New Hampshire we have the distinction of being one of the healthiest populations in America; that's the good news," said Vailas, the board chairman for Compass Healthcare Advisors. "The bad news is we also have one of the highest premium rates in America. There is an inverse relationship here. New Hampshire is the poster child for what is wrong with health care."
"With higher co-pays and deductibles, you will start caring because you can get ripped off," he said.
Try finding out in advance what your out-of-pocket expense will be for a common surgical procedure, as I tried a couple of years ago in Colorado, when I was told repeatedly by the surgeon's office that such information is different for every case. Sadly, that was largely the truth since the price varies based on the patient's insurance company, coverage plan, negotiated price for the procedure, deductible, etc.
"The delivery of health care is totally devoid of the laws of economics," Vailas said. "The cost of health care is going through the roof because there is no pressure to push it down."
And on that note, I turned 51 this year and am overdue for a colonoscopy. Know where I can get one cheap?
Mike Cote is business editor at the Union Leader. Contact him at 668-4321 ext. 324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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