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Scottish man asks Americans to explain their healthcare and the answers show just how broken it is

Those clearly frustrated with the whole mess of a system were quick to point out how it's actually a lot worse than the Twitter user believes.

Scottish man asks Americans to explain their healthcare and the answers show just how broken it is
Cover Image Source: Twitter/Stu Cameron

It's no secret that the American healthcare system is incredibly complicated with even American citizens often struggling to understand the intricacies and fine print of insurance plans. However, now that there is an actual pandemic raging across the world, citizens are forced to face the question of how they'll pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment if they get infected. To make matters worse, the Trump administration's infuriatingly murky response to the Coronavirus outbreak has left millions of Americans confused about the state of their healthcare. Add to that the seemingly endless ongoing freefall of the economy and the comfort of job security has pretty much left the building.



Recently, an understandably confused Scottish guy turned to the internet for help understanding the American health insurance system and the responses paint a clear picture of just how broken the system is. Twitter user Stu Cameron asked: So, do I get this right, American friends? You get health insurance through your job But you can lose your job if your employer cuts costs due to Covid19. Which then means you’ve lost your insurance which would help you get treated for the health crisis you lost your job for...

Those already frustrated with the whole mess of a system were quick to point out how it's actually a lot worse.























People from other countries were flabbergasted to see the responses and couldn't help but count their blessings for not having been born in the United States.







Meanwhile, in another Twitter thread, Wendell Potter—the former VP of American worldwide health services organization Cigna–explained how the big winners of this ongoing pandemic are American health insurance companies: As a former health insurance exec, I don’t think any story better illustrates my old industry’s racket than the one I’m about to tell you: Right now, as we enter the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes (#COVID19), health insurers are still raking in record profits, Porter tweeted. With the COVID19 death & illness count growing each day, you might expect health insurance companies to be one of the industries taking a huge hit right now. After all, they must be reeling from all the medical care Americans now need & all the claims being filed. Right?



Get ready to be outraged. The country’s big for-profit health insurers may actually be one of the huge winners from the pandemic. Among the few corporations to see big jumps in their stock price this week are Anthem, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna & Humana (where I used to work). Investors clearly believe insurers will make a killing, with one Wall Street analyst boosting Cigna to “strong buy.” As medical claims skyrocket how on earth is this possible? A toxic combination of skimping on coverage for COVID19 treatments & raising next year's premiums, he continued.



How do I know this? I used to handle financial information for Cigna & learned that industry CEOs reveal stuff to financial analysts they’d never say to the general public. Few reporters bother to listen in to insurers’ calls with analysts, but one who does is @bobjherman. He reports that in a recent call with analysts, health insurance CEOs said they don’t expect their profits to fall due to COVID-19. They even expect to meet their most ambitious 2021 earnings goals (and they've already been seeing record profits in recent years), Porter revealed.



How do health insurers continue to see huge profits during this crisis? "If medical claims start to rise uncontrollably," @bobjherman reports, "they'll increase everyone’s premiums next year." Humana CEO Brian Kane put it more opaquely: “We would price for this for 2021.” They’re already prepping for big rate increases next year. California officials say they expect insurers to hike premiums up to 40% next year for plans in the state’s Obamacare exchange. Those getting coverage through employers should also brace for big premium hikes, he warned. In addition, Anthem’s CEO said his company expects to realize a “net saving” because hospitals are canceling non-emergency & elective procedures due to COVID-19. And we already know insurers are refusing to waive copays & deductibles for COVID-19 treatments.



So, while many suffer serious illness or death -- and millions lose jobs & health insurance -- the industry sitting pretty in the United States right now is the health insurance industry. That perfectly sums up all you need to know about healthcare in America in 2020, Porter concluded.

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