March 09, 2004

HMOs vs Adam Smith

This was inevitable. (hat tip Brothers Judd)
Two Columbia doctors believe the health insurance industry is chronically sick, and now they’re taking the treatment into their own hands.

George and Hana Solomon have canceled their contracts with all health insurance companies, effective Dec. 1.

For patients who can’t afford the pay-as-you-go health-care method, the Solomons propose an alternative: Cancel your standard health insurance, buy a catastrophic health-insurance policy and pay for day-to-day medical care out of pocket, at a discount.

Bill Kasmann, vice president of Kasmann Insurance Agency Inc., 116 N. Garth Ave., said catastrophic policies have deductibles anywhere from less than $1,000 to $10,000. The monthly premiums usually range from $100 to $200, depending on a wide number of variables.

With major medical events covered by a catastrophic policy, patients can then put money into a medical savings account or similar tax-advantaged account. Patients use these funds to pay for day-to-day health-care.

"This is America, a free-market society, and the only way to make it work is to put the power in the hands of the patient," George Solomon said. The Solomons are offering patients a 20 percent discount on services paid for at the time of the visit.