The Responsibility Shift
Personal responsibility is comprised of morals, ethics and economics, for starters. The concept, as we know it, is that people take responsibility for their own actions. They are in control of their behavior and their decisions and they manage the effects of those actions and decisions. Over the years, however, we’ve seen a shift In where responsibility lies, in a number of areas of our lives.
This shift could be seen with the adoption of the Dram Shop Laws by forty-three states in the U.S. We’re referring here to a law that makes a bar, restaurant or even party host liable for any physical harm that might befall an intoxicated person while driving. Those of us who were around when the Dram Shop Laws were enacted know all too well the negative impact it had on the hospitality industry, party planning and party going! But worst of all, it took responsibility out of the hands of the individual, who could act in an irresponsible way, then sue others for any resulting traumatic effects.
Responsibility in Health Care – a Brief History
It seems health care is yet another example of personal responsibility gone awry. The initial intention was well-meaning. Prior to the advent of health insurance, people, obviously, paid their own medical costs. In the 1930’s, Blue Cross not-for-profit hospital insurance plans were created to help patients meet the higher costs of hospital medical care. The plan fees were fair and people still had control of their preferences and general expenses.
It didn’t take long before the capitalist spirit kicked in and, seeing the financial potential, insurance companies started entering the medical arena. Add to this the higher cost of newly developed technologies and government legislation passed in 1973, The Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, to allow medical insurance agencies, hospitals and other medical facilities to function as for-profit businesses instead of the service organizations they were intended to be and you have the burgeoning of the high-cost, sketchy health care plan dilemma as we now know it. Who likes paying higher prices for less coverage?
Through all of these events, more and more control and personal responsibility was taken away from the individual and awarded to the insurance companies. The result? We have no idea about medical costs because no one (including our doctor’s office) will tell us. Most impractically, when we have been treated, we find out what our costs are, (all too often a shocking revelation), three to six months after we’ve been treated!
Let’s face it, most of our decision making and control has been given over to a third party who is, in most cases, an insurance company whose main interest is their own financial bottom line – not our physical or financial welfare. So why, on earth, have we handed over our total control and personal responsibility for such an important issue as our personal health to a basically, disinterested entity like an insurance company? Certainly not, as we’ve come to see, for favorable fees or services we really need.
A New Frontier in Health Care Responsibility
One source of salvation from the current health care dilemma can be found with some Christian ministries who have adopted a co-op approach in having the members of their ministry share medical costs. This “health sharing” method allows members to take control of selecting their own health care service providers and to shop costs for best pricing, like you would with any other products you buy. This approach to health care has been successfully operating for over 30 years and is exempted from the ACA Mandate.
One of the newest approaches to health care is a ground-breaking strategy that serves the full spectrum of your health care needs in a comprehensive program called Health Excellence Plus.
Unlike traditional health care plans which barely deal with disease management, the focus here is on ALL of your health care needs such as: avoiding illness and high medical costs with a wellness program; preventing chronic disease through yearly wellness checkups; managing medical costs with health savings or matching accounts; mitigating smaller medical costs with telemedicine and member advocacy services; and containing larger expenses through medical cost sharing (taken from the Christian health sharing model). Now, you’d think that with such an all-inclusive program like this, the cost would be astronomical. Well, hold on to your hat because the fees for this program are 30% to 50% lower than most insurance plans! Sound too good to be true? Well, true it is.
The best thing about a program like Health Excellence Plus is that you get to take back responsibility and control over your own health care and medical expenses. And this program takes health care a major step further with a robust wellness program to help you get or stay healthy. Even better, you don’t have to do any of it alone. You have a wellness team and member advocate that are actually there to help and guide you in navigating any wellness or medical needs you may have. What’s more, the member community shares in paying your medical bills as you share in theirs. It’s back to people helping people – what a great thing that could be!
For more information about health sharing or the Health Excellence Plus program strategy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.