Is there hope for our nation’s healthcare? These are words from a seasoned insurance agent, attempting to remain optimistic in reference to our declining state of healthcare.
My name is Sheila Butler. I have over twenty years of experience as a healthcare agency owner. Despite the intimidating 20,000 pages of healthcare reform, I still believe there is hope for America’s healthcare. I invite you to take a few moments to read about my journey in helping others weather the storms of the ever-so-expensive cost of health insurance.
1996: For me, two memorable things happened during 1996. I began my career in health insurance with Larry Denny and Associates. I was hired as a licensed agent, selling health insurance. My focus during this time was self-employed individuals and employer groups of all sizes. In addition to beginning my career in health insurance, a major law was introduced – HIPAA. I recall many things that were a part of this decade of insurance that no longer exist today:
• Twelve major carriers offered medical coverage, which created competitive options for clients
• Low deductibles and copays – $1,000 deductible was considered catastrophic
• Cost for a single male, age 30, was an estimated $99 per month
• Employer cost shares were an average of 80% of the employees cost
• Guarantee issue for employers with between 2 and 50 employees, resulting in an estimated 30% increase in the overall cost during its first year
• Privacy Law; this portion of HIPAA was applied to all industries – the irritating mail you receive from anyone other than your grandmother
2006: Ten years later, Mass introduced the roadmap for ObamaCare – It was failing in Mass, when introduced as our nation’s healthcare reform solution.
2010 – 2014: Our nation was handed a failing plan, which now carries the weight of over 20,000 pages.
The outcome: The following are depictions of our future in healthcare if it continues to decline:
• Estimated five insurance carriers, per state, will offer medical insurance
• High deductibles; on average $3,000 – $5,000
• Cost for a single male, age 30, estimated $300 per month
• Employer cost shares on average 65%
• Americans confused about qualifications for lower costs and plans offered by ObamaCare
• Few physicians accept plans offered through ObamaCare
I find myself at the pivot point of the industry, ever-so-driven to find ways to consult my clients. I advise employers on affordable ways to offer coverage to their employees. I also educate their employees on the reasons for the changes that were forced on them. I hold leadership positions as an advisor to insurance carriers, as they determine how to survive and rise above these 20,000 pages. I assist my clients with claims resolve, while hospitals attempt to treat their patients; all the while, jumping through hoops to receive payment for their services.
During the year 2014, many Americans were promised affordable health insurance. As our nation dared to place hope in the delivery of this promise, as reality set in, the opposite became apparent. In addition to the already unaffordable cost, health insurance costs incurred a 30% increase. The devastation of our nation’s healthcare continues with the endless introductions of new laws, accounting, compliance issues, and many levels of imposed taxes – we feel that no one understands.
Our future – as viewed from the eyes of an optimist: As the former Kaiser CEO, George C. Halvorson states, “Healthcare will not reform itself.” In reference to Halvorson’s comment, the issues within our healthcare system will not remedy themselves. Our current state of healthcare cannot be repaired until the system is completely broken.
America, are we ready?
Allow me to introduce Hope for Healthcare. Hope for Healthcare is a grass roots campaign offering affordable healthcare costs to Americans. We introduce this by measure of a small income tax to all Americans, while reducing the overall cost.
You may not be in favor of the idea, or you may feel that this proposition could not work – but is there a better solution? As our healthcare system continues to fail, why would we not explore other options?
I believe in hope; I believe in Americans, and I believe that together we will preserve.
Thank you for your support,
Sheila J. Butler, President
Sheila J. Butler and Company, Inc.