Health insurance in other countries
All the deliberation in Washington about the state of health care begs the question, what is the best system for managing health care costs for U.S citizens?
Republicans and Democrats will fight over what they think is best, but let’s ignore politics today and take a look at how other countries handle health insurance.
The New York Times posted an entry in their Economics blog about this very subject. Princeton professor Uwe E. Reinhardt discusses the health care system that Germany uses. He says that Germany doesn’t have a government controlled system like Medicare, but instead uses private insurance companies that operate on a for-profit or non-profit basis. They are still, however, regulated by the government to meet “socially desired ends” as Reinhart phrases it. Sound familiar? Medicare Supplement Insurance, in this country, is handled by private insurers, but the U.S. government and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulate these Medigap Insurance policies as to make them standardized for across all the states. Germany’s average per-capita health-care costs are actually as half as much as health care costs in the United States.
European countries also use income as a factor in each citizen’s health care costs.
Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D use this same principal in premium pricing. As of 2011, Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Part B and prescription drug plans must pay an income-based premium if their individual income is $85,000 or above.
Is this the best system for health care? That’s not for us to answer, nor can we compare America to other countries because certain circumstances tend to set us apart. Sometimes in the heat of a debate it is helpful to reference how others handled a similar debate. Hopefully legislators can set aside bipartisan differences and come up with a good solution for American health insurance.
To get more information about Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, talk to one of our Medigap plan representatives today or use our instant quote below.