History Lesson: Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care

February 8, 2012 in Member Stories

By happenstance, I ended up at a book signing of Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care by Stuart Altman and David Shactman. On the basis of their brief presentation prior to the signing, I bought two copies. They sold out what they brought to the signing. The room was packed, standing room only (approx 200 attendees)

In my opinion, great book, great end notes, great bibliography for further reading, great glossary. In the latter, I finally saw a clear definition of “coinsurance”. I stumbled across that term recently in my latest health insurance search.  Insurance  reps on the phone had difficulty explaining it to me.  Probably Savvy members know that “coinsurance” is not insurance at all. It is the portion of a medical bill that the insured person must pay out-of- pocket. I am surprised that someone hasn’t claimed that Universal Health Insurance is not required because we already have had Universal Health Coinsurance. It is great bureaucratese. I wonder where it originated.

Review at: http://www.publishersweekly.com/9781616144562



2 responses to History Lesson: Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care

  1. Hi Michael – great point on co-insurance. I’ll see if I can get Stuart or someone else to weigh in on the origins.

  2. Michael – here’s what I got from Stuart Altman when I passed along your question, “I wonder where it (co-insurance) originated?”

    “Good question. I think co-insurance has been around as long as commercial insurance has been available. Originally the basic form of health insurance was only available from Blue Cross which tried not to have any coinsurance. Their type of policy was a defined benefit where the insured received full coverage for a limited number of benefits. e.g. 30 days of hospital care. With the entrance of commercial insurers (Aetna, Prudential etc.) the idea of including co-insurance in the coverage became more widespread.” (again from Stuart Altman)

    I can look around so more. If you find anything else worth posting, we’d love to read it. Co-insurance is a complicated but growing element in insurance plans.

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