Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tooners' Health Costs

Down below a commenter asks:

What does it cost per/individual for our 'cadillac' healthcare plans?

The Caddy Plan of which this person speaks is the Motion Picture Industry Health and Pension Plan. I phoned the Plan this very day, and here are the basic stats ...

Motion Picture Health Plan

Plan Participants -- 120,000 (100,000 Actives; 20,000 Retirees)

Annual Costs: $700+ million

Active Participant cost (per participant) -- $11,000

Retiree Participant cost (per participant) -- $8,000

COBRA costs (participant + 2 -- family of 3) -- $18,000

Okay, those are the broad-brush numbers. (Blogging rule: Never get into boring detail with a post.) If you're wondering why the Retirees' costs are lower than the Actives', it's because many Retirees (those 65 years and up) have Medicare as their primary insurer, and the Industry Health Plan is the secondary insurer. A few other basic realities:

MPIPHP's costs increase 9%-10% yearly. (Sometimes it's a bit higher, sometimes a bit lower. Health Plan actuaries assume costs will double every 10 years.)

Health care costs in the wider U.S.A. have increased 1 1/2% to 2% faster than the Motion Picture Industry's Health Plan, which has bargaining leverage because of its size. However, because or rising costs, Health Care benefits have been trimmed .... and trimmed again. (Anybody who's been under this Industry Health coverage for some time know that costs have gone up and benefits down.)

The long and short of it is: The present track we are on means that everybody will be doing with less over time. The United States has the most fractured and expensive health care delivery system in the world. The next most expensive country is Switzerland, which has universal coverage, 40% lower costs, and no "public option." The Swiss government simply mandates that every private health insurer offer an "at cost" Health Plan, with mandated benefits. (Swiss health insurance companies are free to sell for-profit "add-ons" to their hearts content.)

Give me the Swiss system and I'm fine. I'll forgo the dreaded Public Option.


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