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medical insurance, msas again

updated sat 6 apr 02


David Hendley on fri 5 apr 02

I agree with Kathi that medical care in the U.S. is in crisis.
I think the solution is to make medical care market-based.
Anytime a majority of the customers for a product do not
directly pay for the product, prices will go totally out of
whack. Universal health care would just mean more resources
are spent on administration, care would decline, options
would vanish, and we'd all be waiting for months to be
admitted to the hospital. Just look at how things work in
any country with socialized medicine.

Just to clarify how a Medical Savings Account (MSA) works,
the "savings" is only half of the program.
The second part of the program is insurance, with a high
deductible that will not pay until anything until it is met.

If I were to suffer a catastrophic illness, I would use my savings
account to pay for all costs up to $4,500.
After that, my insurance would pay 100% of all costs, up to
So, my $10,000 I've saved up will last a minimum of 2 years, in
the absolute worst case situation.
For every year I stay healthy, $500 more is added to my account
(5% interest) in addition to what I contribute. And since the
insurance premiums are more reasonable than regular "pay-all"
insurance, I should be able to budget money to contribute.

Of course, the MSA plan is somewhat of a gamble. A serious
illness at the outset would be tough to handle. The more likely
scenario is that one starts the plan when they are young and
healthy, and has a good amount saved up by middle age.
Nothing in life is guaranteed and I take risks every day.
Taking risks is a part of freedom. Complete security means a
lack of freedom.

Finally, I am not "lucky enough" to make an income that allows me
to set aside income. I don't need to tell any of you how hard
potters work for minimal bucks. I set aside savings for medical care
because I realize that it is of the utmost importance and budget

One more thing, I do believe that taking care of yourself will
keep you health (IER). Again, there are no guarantees, but I don't
believe any of us will get out of here alive.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2002 8:44 AM
Subject: Re: Medical Insurance

> I've been a hospice volunteer too long to believe the myth that taking
care of yourself will keep you healthy. All too often I take care of
patients who tell me they just don't understand why this is happening to
them. They're the ones who exercised every day. They grew much of their own
food chemically free. They bought meat at the organic food store to avoid
steroids and antibiotics. Often they are young.Yet, here they are suffering
from ALS (Lou Gerhig's disease) or some other disease that we have no
explanation for, no way to say " "it's your own fault. You're life style."
> That $10,000 David has saved in a medical savings account easily would
have disappeared in the first months trying to get their illness diagnoised.
He's at least lucky enough to make an income that allows him to set aside
money. For many poor people there is no money to set aside unless, of
course, one is willing to forgo housing and food.
> I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford health insurance. I live in a
community with many professional self-employed which made it possible for
the chamber of commerce to secure a policy for all of us that is a
"reasonable" rate. I'm fortunate to have savings that could assist in
covering expenses that my insurance won't.
> However, I have decided that should I be diagnosed with a potentially
terminal illness I will proceed directly to hospice rather than drain all of
the assets of my household leaving my partner in debt, possibly even in
danger of losing our home.
> Medical care in the US is in crisis (in the world for that matter). And,
while you may be able to negotiate with your doctor on fees, when you try
that with the hospital it's a different story. And of course, keep in mind
that your doctor has to get his money from somewhere. So, if you're
negotiating his fee down, he's charging more somewhere else.
> Kathi LeSueur