Big Pimpin wrote: But the other thing you have to realize is that premiums don't simply get passed through to the providers. Blue Cross (for instance) collects a bunch of money from everyone who they've got under their umbrella, and then pays claims on those who receive services. Then they have deals in place with providers as to how much they pay. So, when a hospital takes a big hit from the government programs, they may up their prices, and maybe Blue Cross has less of a sweet deal, but they still have a deal nonetheless. The people who go in for service and can pay but don't have insurance really get screwed. But there are less of them than there are insured, so those insured would certainly take on a portion of it.
All I can say about that is that the difference between what the gov't funded agencies pay and what a non-profit company like BCBS pays is pretty significant in many markets. I can kind of see the BCBS deals on my own statements from them and they aren't bad but, when I look at my inlaws bills that are cranked through their medicare benefits, it is pretty significant what the difference is. If there wasn't a large difference there would not be a gigantic market for 'supplemental' insurance to cover the difference between medicare and provider's bills. I am not old enough to know what that costs and my inlaws conversations on the topic w/ MrsAcidRock are largely in Korean so I can't say what that coverage may cost them. I know it's there though.
W/ about 1/4 of the population hitting retirement age soon, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic but I would rather be pessimistic and be pleasantly suprised than be optimistic and be disappointed.