Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Filling The Gaps

The papers are full of stories today about Howard County's new initiative to offer health care to the uninsured for fees of as little as $50 a month.

The county estimates that about 20,000 people in the county are eligible, and that about 2,000 will probably take part the first year (at a cost of $2.8 million, coming from fees, $500,00 in county subsidies and the rest from donations).

The latest effort is an attempt to fill in the gaps in the confusing matrix of state, federal, and private insurance programs that exists today. Here at Columbia Talk Central we struggle with our own patchwork of company insurance, health care spending accounts, donut holes, co-pays, mail-in prescriptions, negotiated fees, in-plan providers, flexible spending accounts, lifetime maximums, etc etc etc. And somehow, each year when the enrollment forms come around, the cost of it all keeps going up.

Heaven knows how the less fortunate figure it all out. We're guessing they don't.

Such confusion is why companies like Steve Case's Revolution Health even exist, to help people navigate their choices, and that seems like perhaps one of the chief benefits of the county's new Healthy Howard provide a little guidance in how to manage the system and steer folks to affordable clinics and low-cost pharmacies when possible.

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