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Letter: Time-of-service co-pay may help medical cost awareness

Research highlights problem with insurance obscuring costs

Re: Medical premiums can backfire, Oak Bay News March 4

The Decima research claimed by Ian Mckinnon highlights a problem with insurance obscuring costs. I’ve even heard business and government people suggest there was not a cost when insurance paid for a loss.

One solution is a co-pay at time of service, whether by doctor, imager or hospital.

(B.C. even eliminated its system of advising customers of the medical system what had been paid by government for them, to save pennies that could have saved dollars.)

Note as well that medical “insurance” tends to actually cover routine expenses, so is really a pre-paid service plan combined with insurance against large events. In contrast, house insurance does not cover replacing shingles or painting, only disasters like a tree falling on it or a fire.

There has been medical insurance in the US with a high deductible, for example $5,000 per year, for a much lower premium. That covered serious illness or major injury but not minor things nor routine checks.

PS: For larger risks some insurers evaluate practices of the insured. For example, smokers may be charged a higher premium for house insurance.

Keith Sketchley