Big Three Health Care Co-op Could Change How You Buy a Car, Get Surgery
Automakers may try to negotiate a massive health care co-op with the United Auto Workers — similar to the one it has with its retirees — and potentially change private health care in the U.S., Bloomberg is reporting.
At issue are the roughly 300,000 workers and beneficiaries, and 750,000 retirees and their families who rely on the UAW for health care.
The pool of more than one million workers and their families could give the Big Three unprecedented negotiating power with U.S. hospitals and clinics.
According to Bloomberg, the $61 billion trust established in 2010 for the UAW retirees has cut drug costs, added care and retained its assets.
The potential pool of 1 million auto workers and their families would give the group considerable leveraging power in the health care marketplace and could lead to other direct employer-provider cooperations in the future, side-stepping traditional insurance administrators.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which currently handles the current auto workers, may stay on in some capacity to administer the benefits, but its role would likely shrink.
During the last round of negotiations with the UAW, automakers were cool to the idea of a health care co-op, but may be warming up to the idea in an effort to further cut labor costs on cars produced in the U.S.
Of course, there are always horror stories about similar organizations like this.
My company with Anthem BC-BS for years, until they kept jacking the prices higher and higher. Now we're with Aetna. Course now Aetna is going to merge with Humana, and CIGNA merging with Anthem. Whiddling the number of group health providers from 5 to 3. I'm sure that'll be great for premiums!
High insurance premiums are because of high costs of healthcare in U.S. I got MRI done in Europe this Summer for 150 Euro out of pocket, while I was on vacation there. The same MRI in WA is $2600. Thank big government for setting among others yearly quota on new doctor licenses.
Random but tangentially related fact: the first successful open heart surgery was performed at Harper Hospital in Detroit in 1952, using a pump built by General Motors. So in a sense, they've been involved in surgery for years.
I have been practicing Anesthesiology in Los Angeles for almost 40 years. In the last 30 years, our fees have gone down, NOT up. That's right, lower fees than in 1984. Right now Medicare pays us about $90/hour, with the time counted from into the operating room to out. I don't get paid for reviewing big, complicated charts or for speaking with families. I don't get paid for paper work or for the classes every time our computer system is updated. I don't get paid for the time between cases when the nurses are preparing the rooms or when we are waiting for equipment, lab studies to be completed, for late surgeons to arrive or for time when patients are stuck in the paperwork of the admitting office. For every 8 hours that I am at the hospital, I estimate that I have 5 1/2 hours of billable time. Medicare pays me about $90/hr. ACA has offered about $53/hour. This is before billing and Malpractice Insurance expenses, my own health insurance, my retirement funds or mandatory medical education time. All the money in health care goes to Insurance carriers who now have about a 30% overhead, compared to 4% when Blue Cross of California was non-profit. Drug costs are obscene. Chemotherapy doses can be over $100,000 per month. Don't feel sorry for me. I just retired last month. Good luck to all of you trying to find a new physician. Try the Honda dealer. Mine gets $112/hour, twice what ACA wants to pay me and they don't handle holiday or emergency work.