Simple ideas turn out to be pretty complicated after all

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By Consumers Union on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Would allowing people to shop for out-of-state insurance lower health costs for all? Or would it lead to a “race to the bottom” with much higher costs for some and worse coverage for everyone else. Check out our Consumer Reports analysis.

And what if we just eliminated pre-existing condition exclusions. Well, some people might wait til they get sick to buy insurance. Coverage is only affordable if healthy people are also paying into the “pool.” And if you just mandate that everyone buy coverage, some reasonably can’t afford it. So you have to help them out. Before you know it, you’ve ended up with something that looks a lot like the now-stalled proposals in Congress. We’ve looked at this idea in detail too.

Finally, we could do a few little things to improve competition, but encouraging competition for a product that’s nearly impossible to understand until the day you need it can be quite a challenge. This is not like buying a TV.

Keep an eye on our Consumer Reports Health Blog for more about the ideas for fixing our healthcare system that everyone is talking about.

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