In the video in the below post, State Health Plan Director Jack Walker, speaking at a legislative hearing yesterday, indicated that the State Health Plan is considering moving towards one of the more odious private health insurance industry practices. Health insurers “cherry pick” who they cover through schemes like charging older people more for coverage. Walker is following private industry by proposing to charge younger spouses of state employees a lower rate for coverage than older spouses.
The idea is to lower costs for the State Health Plan by bringing in younger spouses. Of course, when health insurance companies charge more to older people they make it harder for older folks to get coverage and drive up NC’s skyrocketing number of people without health insurance.
The state shouldn’t be adding to this problem – let’s fix the private insurance system instead of starting to imitate it. One of the main problems the state health plan has is that state workers are older. Or, as I prefer to say, they, like me, are experienced. Short of firing all state employees and only hiring people under 30, there is little the state health plan can do to drastically increase the number of younger workers in the insurance pool.
Why not just put everyone in North Carolina in one insurance pool? Insurers could compete on price, networks and quality, and no one would have to worry about being unable to afford coverage just because they are getting older or they have a history of cancer or another pre-existing health condition.