Cal State Fullerton Alum: Is Health Care Bankrupting Your Business Or Family? By Dr. Josh Luke

Six words killed American health care: “Your insurance will pay for it.” Doctors and hospitals repeated this phrase, and we all took the bait. Individuals and businesses all bought in.

And as a result we all chose the big shiny hospital and the high-priced doctor when given a choice. We assumed bigger was better. Well, that’s not always the case in health care.

The truth is, we all paid for it at the end of each year when our company got its annual premium increase from its insurance carrier. A portion of that increase was passed on to the consumer. It was not a question of if, but how much. We choose higher-cost health care as we are led to believe the costs do not impact us as individuals and businesses.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If health care costs grow at the rate of inflation, a millennial could spend 75 percent of her lifetime earnings for health care, according to Dave Chase, co-founder of the Health Rosetta Institute. This is tragic.

So when do we declare the tipping point? We would have already if we knew how. Take note of these significant events that have taken place in the past few weeks. They all are clear indications that America is declaring its tipping point on health care hyperinflation.

1.     Disney Orlando broke from its traditional insurance carrier to contract directly with a health system. It’s likely Disney SoCal does the same.

2.     Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced a partnership to form their own health care company for their U.S. employees.

3.     Apple announced it was partnering with several health systems to give consumers access to their medical records from their mobile device.

Clearly Americans are fed up. Below is a roadmap for individuals to reduce health care costs by thousands annually.

But first, let’s clarify that your high-deductible plan is not just a way for your employer to shift more costs to the individual. That’s only true if an individual does not engage. The formula is simple.

Ask yourself this question: Are you an EHC — an Engaged Health-care Consumer? To become an EHC, follow three simple steps — the 3 P’s: Have a Plan based on Preventive medicine and Personalized medicine.

Below are four specific items that individuals can include in their EHC Plan that will save them and their employer thousands annually.

1.     Local medical tourism – Shop! Just like you would for a car or home. Find a “center of value.” Compare price and quality when you need a medical procedure or test. Individuals routinely save up to 60 percent by simply exploring their options — even on a procedure in which your out-of-pocket is $10,000 — by going to your human resources department and identifying a center-of-value (sometimes called the “narrow-network”) provider. That’s a savings to you of $6,000.

Research shows that the average distance an individual needs to drive to find a center of value is only 35 miles. Also, there is no evidence that bigger is better in health care, as quality scores vary. Don’t assume.

2.     DNA testing: A simple test can show you which medications are effective on your body, and at what dosages, as well as which medications are not effective. Are you or a dependent taking a high-cost medicine? What if your DNA test shows the med is actually not effective based on your genetic blueprint and there is another medication or a generic that would be more effective on your body? DNA tests cost $300 to $1,300, but often your employer will pay for them or you can pay via a health savings account.

3.     Integrative medicine: Integrative medicine was once common in America, with more than 100 university programs nationwide until the 1950s, when Big Pharma used its massive budget to begin persuading Americans that the only way to cure an illness is by taking a pill. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Integrative medicine includes Eastern medicine and natural-remedy approaches that focus on the root cause of an issue to eliminate it, as opposed to just focusing on the symptoms. Utilize both Eastern and Western remedies in your EHC Plan. One of the best companies nationwide fulfilling these needs is Harvey.

4.     Alternative insurance plans: Inquire with your employer about any alternative insurance plans, as they have become very popular. Approaches such as telehealth, direct primary care (for 24/7 walk-in and call-in access to physicians) and remote monitoring techniques have become the norm. For example, a mother whose child wakes up sick could just log on to her mobile device and have a telehealth consult with a doctor within a half-hour instead of having to re-arrange her entire day to try to get a doctor’s appointment and then wait in a germ-infested waiting room.

These are just a few of the proven steps that Americans are taking to reclaim health care on their path to Health-Wealth. Declare your tipping point today.

By Josh Luke