Healthcare Data: Supreme Court Case

 

I’m reading a NY Times article on the lead up to the Supreme Court hearing of the case; some interesting facts surrounding a 1987 ruling regarding taxes and lawsuits.

Anyway, I come across this anecdotal story:

Some activists came with their own stories. Henrik Erslev, 58, a carpenter from Maryland, said he had come out to support the bill because his daughter, who just turned 26, was allowed to stay on his insurance policy through a cyst removal last year that Mr. Erslev said would have forced her into bankruptcy.

Now, assuming his daughter would have had to obtain her own insurance, something she’ll have to do in a year anyway, how much would it have cost her?

I Googled Henrik Erslev from Maryland and I found a Twitter account that listed him as living in Wheaton Maryland.  It might be a different Mr. Erslev, but since I would have randomly picked a town in Maryland, this works.  I then went to ehealthinsurance.com and tried to see how much a health insurance policy would have cost Ms. Erslev.

The answer?

$51.78

Now, granted, that policy comes with a 5k deductible with a 20% copay.  I think the cost of having a cyst removed is between $3,000 and $10,000; call it $10,000.  If I’m right, that would mean the Erslevs would have had to pay $5,000 to hit the deductible and then 20% of the remaining $5,000.  This would be about $6,000.

Certainly a lot of money.  But hardly insurmountable.

And certainly not compelling evidence that we have a systemic failure to deliver medical care to the people of America.

2 responses to “Healthcare Data: Supreme Court Case

  1. Call me irresponsible, but when I started my job after law school I had tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt and about a thousand dollars in a checking account. I could not have afforded any procedure that would cost a few thousand dollars and I don’t think it’s exactly a unique situation.

    Remember also that one of the cost-saving aspects of the ACA is that it gets people in their 20s (who might try and avoid health insurance until absolutely necessary) paying into the system now, rather then when a problem arises later in life. That is, there’s more money in the system when this girl’s dad pays to keep her insured then if he can’t and she can’t and she needs the surgery and the hospital does it anyway and the cost gets passed to everyone else.

    • Call me irresponsible, but when I started my job after law school I had tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt and about a thousand dollars in a checking account. I could not have afforded any procedure that would cost a few thousand dollars and I don’t think it’s exactly a unique situation.

      It would be interesting to see the data on medical procedures and their payment plans.

      Remember also that one of the cost-saving aspects of the ACA is that it gets people in their 20s (who might try and avoid health insurance until absolutely necessary) paying into the system now, rather then when a problem arises later in life.

      There are significant issues with forcing that.

      That is, there’s more money in the system when this girl’s dad pays to keep her insured then if he can’t and she can’t and she needs the surgery and the hospital does it anyway and the cost gets passed to everyone else.

      But this girl’s dad isn’t paying more; rather he’s allowed to keep her on his plan longer. That’s the idea of the whole extension of childhood.

      And if he IS paying more, he’s only paying more because the costs are being passed on to everyone in the form of higher premiums.

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