If "The Day the Music Died" as sung by Don McLean was when Buddy Holly crashed in a chartered airplane in 1959, we will be able to sing about a similar death of your health insurance that started in January of 2016. Unfortunately, our healthcare system's death isn't one that will suddenly end in just one terrible event, our system's death will probably last several long and painful years. The beginning of the end can be marked by Blue Cross Blue Shield's decision to terminate all PPO coverage for individual plans in Texas and replace it with a managed care HMO network. Competitors of Blue Cross quickly followed suit, leaving Texans grasping at straws and hoping to find anything that could cover them with a large doctor and hospital network. Unfortunately, many still don't understand how limited options are and won't until they need emergency health care.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act we've been writing that the law did nothing to control health care costs and thus was a waste of time and truthfully an effort to take people's money and subsidize others. Oddly, things would have been better if the country would have simply offered free coverage to the poor rather than destroying the system that was actually working for many. Now, we have a health insurance system that is offering small networks, higher deductibles, lower material benefits, and premiums that are almost 200% greater than just a few short years ago. The worst part is that the pain is not over. 2017 will usher in a new set of significant actions that will further reduce choice, cost more, and result in an actual reduction in the number of insureds.