Hope for healthy uninsured
I have enjoyed your last two cover stories on the uninsured, "Hope for the uninsured?" (Feb. 17, p. 6) and "Pitching plans to the uninsured" (Feb. 24, p. 8). The latter article was particularly interesting to me, as it showed that insurance companies are indeed starting to tap the upper end of the uninsured market. But what these companies don't readily admit is that they are also marketing to healthy individuals who have healthcare insurance options through their employer.
We all know that healthcare premiums have skyrocketed over the last few years, for some more than others. I have seen many cases where the employee portion of the employer-subsidized premium is more expensive than an individual plan through various insurance companies-and that's for a healthy employee.
As you can imagine, this creates a vicious cycle. Some healthy employees are getting out of their employers' health plans, which makes the pool more risky to insurers and causes premiums to rise even more. The healthy individuals are happy about saving money until they get sick and their premiums rise to a point where they are more expensive than their employers' plans or they are dropped altogether. The now-sick employee then moves back over to his or her employer's plan, which in turn increases the risk in that population. This, of course, causes more premium increases and more healthy employees to fall out, seeking less expensive individual policies.
HCA Managed Care Services-Oklahoma
EMTALA for all
David Burda's editorial opposing a rush to a single-payer healthcare system ("Don't throw the baby out ...," Feb. 17, p. 20) succinctly laid out a number of facts as to why a single-payer system is unnecessary.
Unfortunately, your credibility was weakened by making the clearly erroneous statement that only not-for-profit hospitals are required by federal law to provide a basic medical screening in their emergency departments. You should be aware that both investor-owned and not-for-profit hospitals are required to comply with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.
Chief financial officer
Gadsden (Ala.) Regional Medical Center
Regarding your story on the top integrated healthcare networks, ("Still leader of the pack," March 3, p. 36 and modernhealthcare.com), what criteria did Verispan use to come up with its ranking?
Executive vice president
Prevea Health Services
Green Bay, Wis.
Editor's note: Verispan ranks healthcare networks based on their financial and clinical performance and degree of integration. The Chicago-based company can be contacted by phone at 312-642-3026. Also, for the full rankings nationally and by region, visit modernhealthcare.com.