Insurance industry games system

To the editor:

My wife and I are lucky. We both started working at a young age and have had continuous health insurance forever (like 40 – 50 years). We’re even luckier that our kids are healthy and we both made it to Medicare age without any major issues. I estimate that over the years our employers (and we) paid about $1 million in premiums.

But like most people, our luck will run out as we get older and we’ll need expensive procedures. This is where the insurance guys are so smart. They really only insure people up to age 65, then Medicare does the heavy lifting. They also leave the government to cover most of our disabled and poor citizens (medicaid). Basically, they cherrypick who they cover while sending us beautiful brochures to keep us happy.

And when everyone gets angry over the high cost of anything health-related, the insurance execs sit behind the scenes and let their congressmen fight their battles. They are smart. And well paid. Annual CEO salaries are up to $20M, up to $100M with the stock options.

Of course, they didn’t like it when the ACA started to limit their cherrypicking. So, they invested millions lobbying and convinced us that the ACA is evil. Pretty smart for them, pretty tough for working-class Americans. We are the only country in the world who can afford to hire an army of health care executives.

Our government is far from perfect. But we should give ourselves credit for having insured the old, the disabled, the poor and our veterans for all these years. Just think if we could include the young and healthy in our pool.

Jim Hertel