For small businesses. From WSJ, Novel Approach to Health Plans Gains Traction
The programs typically involve collaboration between business owners, nonprofit groups and local hospitals, which offer enrollees a range of medical services at a reduced rate. The plans keep costs down partly by bypassing the extra costs that come with traditional insurance. That can be a big help for small-business employees who can’t afford traditional insurance. But for patients with costly chronic diseases or catastrophic illnesses, the coverage would likely be inadequate.
There are programs in Texas, Minnesota, Colorado and Arizona. A look at Galveston, Texas:
The UTMB plan in Galveston pays for 20 doctor visits a year and covers maternity care, visits to the emergency room, medical imaging such as CT scans and MRIs, and surgery. Enrollees can go only to UTMB and its staff doctors, and the coverage limits are lower than those of most employer-sponsored insurance plans: $1,200 per year for drugs, for instance, and a lifetime cap of $250,000. Family members aren’t covered.
These types of plans are called 3-Share, because employers and workers who participate each pay a third of the cost and the nonprofit groups find other sources of funds for the balance. The nonprofits generally look to government, foundations and hospitals as possible sources of money.
This kind of thing wouldn’t suit everyone, but why should it? Free markets aren’t about one-size-fits-all solutions. As always, it’s about the individual. This is a good idea and I hope it spreads.