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Insurance Deductibles and How the Changes Will Affect Health Care Professionals

Aug 17, 2007
First of all, let me make clear that I do not really know what will happen. I can however for sure tell you that, like the stock market, the game is fixed!!

Yes, I mean just that. You will never win. Las Vegas is a pale comparison when it comes to ripping people off. What people? You, the doctor, of course - if it is not already clears to you that the patients also get ripped off too! Now that you know that I know nothing about the game of the insurance companies and all the hula-hoop of the government, of why, how, and when to expect that you the doctor and all the patients participating in it will ever win.

Here is however what seems to be on the horizon:

People will start to think that because companies start choosing insurances with high annual deductibles, that such will be a good thing. All insurance, in the first place, is supposed to take care of huge and completely unmanageable circumstances.

So insurance was a good idea. But like most good ideas it has been perverted such as the child labor union. It was a good idea when they actually did prevent child slavery but now it makes sure that we create a young civilization that has no value until their eighteenth year or so because child labor protection forbids the young active energetic 14 year old from working and to participate and feel useful, despite the fact that just about any successful captain of industries will tell you how they contributed to their families' survival at age 10 and younger!

You get the point!

Back to insurances. If people pay the every day cost of health care and only insure the "out of reach items" - let's say $4,000 and above per year, then cost of insurance will go down by at least $4,000, if not more!! And yet the actual everyday health care cost per person will in most cases be less that a $1,000 per month and rarely more than $3,500 for elders.

So, in effect they would be saving money! Indeed they would.

Keep in mind that if the patient pays the doctor, there is automatically an awful lot less paperwork to administer by the doctors' office and by the insurance. This means savings for all - the doctor, the patient, the insurance companies.

Anyhow, quite a few people in government, insurance and private economists are grinding around that topic. Economical self-evidence will, I think, get it in the direction of high deductibles a bit more every month.

This will, despite of it being a good thing, introduce opportunities and pitfalls for the individual practitioner. It is simply a change and must be dealt with accordingly. There are no pitfalls except if the individual practitioner does not start early enough in realizing that it will change the way he can attract new patients. Keep in mind those new patients with high deductibles will now be paying cash for their services and will not be bound to go where their insurance tells them to go!! Hm!!

It is a dream come true for those who know how to cater to those millions of free running patients. Patients might of course also delay some regular small treatments, because they now have to pay and thus you need to do a better job at enlightening or educating the patients, and tending to their health.

Marketing and selling is part of the patient's education. Avoid becoming a marketing/management expert because you are a clinical expert and you perish.

Because, last but not least, there will be a shift in what services people will demand. Oh yes - there will be an emphasis on preventive care versus illness treatment.

You see, insurances have never really paid for staying healthy; they only reimburse the patients for treatment needed if sick. Don't ask me for the rationality and how insurances get away with it. After all, it not only costs less to keep a person healthy than getting him back to health, it is also more pleasant!

Why did the public fall for this health care insurance scam when it is really a "please make me sick insurance"? And I am very literal when I say illness treatment insurance = "insurance to get sick." Who knows, but I bet that with their high deductibles, patients will wake up and insist on wellness care - real health care; which keeps them healthy; which will include food supplements, advice on exercise, massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, simple health knowledge such as a round of 4-5 ice cold and hot showers every day keeping your blood circulation going, nutritional advice and more, much more.

This above reasoning is also heavily underlined by a decade-long trend into the natural, alternative and holistic wave of medicine, which cannot possibly be overlooked. It has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

People are waking up to real health care the same way as when they started seeking freedom instead of slavery. And frankly, this should scare the average doctor who does not want to use this trend to provide such services to demanding patients. With the advent of the Internet, the public gets educated faster than ever on new ways and the Drug companies will have a hell of a time keeping those vital and very workable alternatives from them!

And you the doctor better be prepared to do the following:

Realize that you first will have to market to those high deductible individuals.

Your staff better be prepared to explain the need for minor services very well or those patients will walk out without leaving you much money and probably never come back either. Realize that preventive health care will take on a whole new meaning to the patients, and the doctors. If you the doctor do not get on the bandwagon (no matter how much the AMA or FDA etc. might protest) then the MLM guy and the casual quacks will get the bulk of those $3,000 per year from hundreds of millions of people.

So, there are really no pitfalls, except not realizing and working hard and fast and early on acquiring the practice management/marketing skills to get your share.

Nobody will pass a law that you HAVE to get your share!! Oh no!! The effort by the AMA and the drug companies of putting everyone in jail who helps someone to get healthy or recover without drugs will be put to rest because people are maintaining their health or getting well.

As national negotiator Mr. Karass says:
"In life you do not get what you deserve - you get only what you negotiate!"

And then, there is this:

"If the doctor of today does not become the nutritionist of tomorrow then the nutritionist of today will be the doctor of tomorrow" - Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research, New York.

Or as Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, and the person whose oath most of you Doctors take, said:

"All medicine is food and all foods are medicine."

There are many ways on how to create an advantage for you and the patients you will be seeing, and some ways will fit you better than others but the most important thing will be to look at many ways - kick them around, ask your consultants, or read books. Simply take initiative to find out, don't be afraid of mistakes and due to this fear of mistakes sink into doing nothing until you are absolutely sure and until it has been proven to work for others. If you wait and wait and see and see then, well, you most likely will once more cry "victim!" in a few short years. Followers are sheep, - sheep get killed. Followers don't make money and have little personal satisfaction.

Sorry but that is how it will be - in my humble opinion!

A new opportunity is on the horizon. The first few figuring out how to use it will be the winners and will eat up a bunch of the rest. But that is nothing new in that, isn't it? Read "The Grocery Store Future of the Medical Practitioner." Readers of this issue will have no excuse if they end up in the wrong group, the ones which get devoured by the mavericks!
About the Author
Helmut Flasch is a marketing consultant who uses Un-advertising rather than the traditional advertising methods. Find out more information about his marketing strategy at Un-Advertising Info.
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