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Letter: Health care costs driven by claims

While your article (“Health-insurance hikes hit double
digits again,” May 30) does justice to the topic, it missed an opportunity to
talk about the simple fact that claims drive cost.

While your article (“Health-insurance hikes hit double
digits again,” May 30) does justice to the topic, it missed an opportunity to
talk about the simple fact that claims drive cost. Some of this overutilization
of the health care system comes from employees and families who are insulated
from the costs of the benefits their employers provide. They have less of an
incentive to shop for medical care and to insist on price transparency. It’s
not whether insurance companies are doing the best job controlling costs for
small businesses. It’s also what people are doing themselves – in lifestyle and
wellness – that may have a greater impact on claims. That would have been a
nice platform from which to write an article about high-deductible health
plans, health savings accounts and how, on a case-by-case basis, consumerism
and rational utilization of health care costs is beginning to come about.

Obviously, there are other reasons for this spike in
premiums – ranging from prescription costs, medical-malpractice fears,
government mandates and consumer expectations of full and complete recovery,
etc. The thing about HSAs is that the consumer is put in charge of making his
or her own health care decisions and hopefully will approach these decisions
from a consumerist point of view.
-Vince Phillips, lobbyist, Pennsylvania Association of
Health Underwriters

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