What is Health Insurance, and Why Do You Need It?: Health Care Triage #2

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In this episode of Healthcare Triage, Dr. Aaron Carroll gets some surprised questions from “friend of Obama” John Green who is still waiting for his big government giveaway . Unfortunately, insurance still costs money, and it’s still really complicated. Aaron explains how the insurance system we have today came to be, and why most of us get coverage through our jobs. He talks about why we need insurance, which basically boils down to the fact that health care is really, really, really expansive. More importantly, he explains why you need to know what premiums, networks, deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance are, and how they have to be considered in the true cost of insurance. Also, ground unicorn horn.

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Read more on Aaron’s blog: http://theincidentaleconomist.com/

John Green — Executive Producer
Stan Muller — Director, Producer
Aaron Carroll — Writer
Mark Olsen – Graphics




UsmevavyPanacek says:

What? Six grands for ultrasound? That’s fucked up. Usually I kind of
disagree with people saying that Europe is much better (because it’s mostly
the same), but in this case I have to agree.. Wow

Alexi says:

Wait. (starting at 6:30 ish) — having the silver plan on a bad year will
be $10k, but not having a plan…is $1,200 ??? Can someone clarify this?

Anthony Hall says:

Thanks for this.

Andreas Buslon says:

Great show Doctor! I have a question perhaps you could do a video on.
Supplements is a huge market for bodybuilding and fitness programs. Claims
like “1 gram of protein for 1 pound of body mass,” “eat 5 meals.” Is this a
bunch of nonsense? Are protein supplements healthy? I’ve read nitrogen
balance is important in building muscle and simply counting caloric intake.
Though what is the healthy approach and is protein supplementation
effective and safe? I know that’s sort of a lot and a bit scattered, but
fitness is very important to me and I want to do and educate it correctly!
Plus I’m curious what research you find. 

Joe Lima says:

It seems you may be mixing up present health care costs with past
motivation for creating medicare/medicaid. Back then health care didn’t
cost very much so it was not a question of going bankrupt to pay for health
care. The costs have risen since those programs were created at 3 times
the rate of inflation, probably because of medicare/medicaid.

Babita Goel says:

With Health Insurance, you are not just safe guarding your life and your
health, but you are also preventing yourself from making costly bills.
Health insurance ( http://www.religarehealthinsurance.com/) policies cover
hospitalization in case of a major illness and patient surgery in case of
an accident in which injuries are sustained. But everyone should have a
health insurance policy to meet any kind of a health care need in the

Jacob Burrell says:

Wow. I love these rather short informative videos! 

Darius Sibiu says:

I had to do a double take on the 30.000 for a baby thing, is it to give
birth in a hospital? O.o

Tarathiel123 says:

I live in Canada and had bronchiolar pneumonia a couple of years ago. I
dropped about 20 pounds over 3 weeks (from not eating because I wasn’t
hungry). When I went to the doctors I got three x-rays and a host of
antibiotics. I didn’t pay for the doctor’s visit, nor the x-rays which were
two floors below my doc. And insurance mostly covered the drugs through my
Mom’s work. Universal Healthcare still has private insurance and they work
incredibly well together in our hybrid system. I don’t get why Americans
don’t want universal healthcare now…

RogerWilco says:

Pfffft. The US health insurance system is so complex. I’m happy I don’t
live there.
I pay about $1300 (€1000) a year and I’m done. No Actuarial Value, no
co-pays, no deductibles or any of those things.

zyx turner says:

As someone who lives in the UK it actually scares me how bad the US system
for healthcare is. When someone is ill/hurt telling someone that there life
is now finically ruined because of events out of their control is a cruel
event. But what I despise more than anything is how you have a choice of to
be or not to be insured. Weighing up the risks of falling ill with the fact
that insurance is insanely priced is one that either leaves you out of
pocket or feeling scared of your health status. Just wanted to say that….
so yeah

David Rousseau says:

Obama care is a SCAM

Kevin Malone says:

Why are your views so low? These videos are amazing.

ZombieTex says:

First, you never really addressed the question: What is insurance?

Insurance is a policy you buy which pays out in case something bad happens.
You get sick, they pay for it. In the case of car insurance, you wreck your
car, the company pays for repairs. It insures that if something goes wrong,
someone will be liable for paying for damages.

Why do I make a point of this? Because you can’t wreck your car, and THEN
buy insurance to cover the accident. If you could, no one would ever buy
insurance until after they had a wreck … kind of like the explanation in
part 1 about Obamacare. If the accident already happened, it’s not
insurance. Insurance is for in case something happens in the future, not
the past.

This is why everyone’s costs are going up … because without being able to
deny accidents that have already happened, it forces the companies to
charge more to everyone to pay for it. To mitigate this cost increase,
we’re forcing individuals who don’t even want or need the insurance to buy
it, or pay a penalty. We’re literally mugging healthy people who don’t want
anything to do with this so that people who were already sick before they
bought their policies can afford their premiums. This is wrong.

thescowlingschnauzer says:

In the USA a baby is $30,000 a year? State universities are charging that
per semester. What an odd juxtaposition.

dawnnerdgirl says:

Can you do a video talking about the imbalance Obamacare brings to the
insurance equation. Meaning insurance is based on a lot of healthy paying
for a couple sick people, and that sick people have to pay more (higher
premiums). But with universal healthcare, and the expense it puts on
individuals, specifically healthy young people who would rather pay the
penalty to save money, it means that the ratio between healthy people
paying for the sick is unbalanced because more sick people are going to be
covered. So instead of 90 healthy people paying for 10 sick people, 90
healthy people are paying for 20 sick people. I realize this is an
extremely simplified and not fully explained take, but it’s an aspect that
people keep failing to address.

8osiris says:

We need insurance because the Food reps, Pharmaceutical reps, FDA, EPA,
WHO, research additive groups, and fast food chains have made it their
lifes mission to contaminating our food source. This is done to put the
population in check while opening the door for lawsuits and multiple
surgeries and all the other little things that ‘support the economy’.
Essentially its socialized genocide.

Daniel Bech says:

This sounds very different to what we have in Australia. then again all I
know is I flash my shiny medicare card and it’s all free :P

Rohan Blake says:
Glenn Eggleton says:

o m g… Wow…I get pissed off when I have to pay $3 for a dispensing fee
for antibiotics. 

Magnus Krokstad says:

How can a visit to a doctor + ultrasound total to $6000, it sounds more
expensive than it “should”. Also, I’m so glad I’m in a proper socialist
(someone, please yell “damn communists” in a southerner accent!) country!
We’ve got a system where you pay a small copay depending on your
treatment/examination, maxing out at ~US$1400 – all paid with tax-money!

darkdragonsoul99 says:

how deos health insurance work it doesn’t you go bankrupt even if you have

David Rousseau says:

Fact Doctors , hospital, dentist, ect are OVERCHARGING you . Why Health
care insurance. Americans are stupid.

Jason Francis says:
shiks more says:


Anders Petersen says:

I am gladly paying the 45% in tax here in Denmark just to know that my
money is saving somebody else lives and livelihood, if not my own.

TodayinJensLibrary says:

OK. So now could you address the idea of an HSA? Because I’m hoping that
will solve the out-of-pocket problem of a deductible.

Cecily Dunn says:

I just noticed The Fault In Our Stars on the shelf. :)

Veredika says:

$350 dollars a month? What a waste of fucking money. How about controlling
the amount that hospitals can charge?!?! $300 for a fucking saline IV bag?
Get the fuck out of here!

rowtow13 says:

I heard if you have a baby in the US and don’t pay your bill, they just
cram the baby right back up in there.

Robert Hunt says:

Growing up poor and continuing to be relatively poor I have such a negative
outlook in life. After going to therapy for a year and continuing to
practice mindfulness I continue to see the world more for how it actually
is. Which isn’t horrifically horrible and out to get me. Your videos really
help me a lot and I want to thank you.

toobphish says:

Why is a pediatrician making videos about Health Insurance? Do I have to
convince my insurance agent to make a video about Rubella? Although, you
seem more like my own physician; he too seems to be preoccupied with
“quality of payment for healthcare” rather than, “quality healthcare”! TNX!

Diana Peña says:

I get hit by a car. I have to pay 8.5 THOUSAND DOLLARS for a cat-scan. My
jaw was fine after all, but I have to pay 8.5K for a fucking cat-scan. I
can’t pay for it, so to get the city to pay for it, I have to fill out a
motor vehicle accident police report, provide a form for notice of
intention to report, along with my insurance plan to show that this shit
insurance won’t cover me, fill out a household affidavit, provide proof of
address, and then FINALLY maybe get rejected.

FUCK AMERICA! The first chance I get, I’m leaving!

Jayson Bass says:

Very informative video about having health insurance. Whether it’s
ObamaCare or from a private insurance, everyone should have health
insurance to have peace of mind and live life more freely.

SbI29 says:

IHS, neglected to mention it

Jesper Birch says:

Just shift to the system we have in Denmark – everybody is automaticly
covered no mater what the costs may be.

Ryan Freels says:

Go Aaron!

gbrading says:

Goodness, I know we in Britain complain massively about the National Health
Service being inefficient and badly managed but goodness it’s a darn sight
better than the United States. I pay my taxes, I get healthcare when I need
it. Americans pay their taxes but they don’t.

Blufacia says:

have leeches ever been tested in a randomized control trial?? jk

mailem says:

Thank god I’m Canadian

Laine Porwit says:

30000$ for having a kid??? What on EARTH??????? Are you serious, USA?

Christopher D'Angelo says:

I think you missed the bigger question which is why does an ultra sound
cost $6,000? Moreover, it’s possible that your insurance company isn’t even
held liable for same (ridiculous) amount. Suspicious.

Igor Ilyasov says:

hey, i like this guy! Where has he been all this time? Go Carroll!!! 

Saint Nick says:

It should have really been mentioned early in the video that this kind of
health insurance is unique to America. While a lot of the terminology is
similar, people outside of the states can get confused quickly as
government and private insurance programs and institutions differ widely
from country to country. 

brinaethegiraffe says:

Wow I could have really used this video about a year ago when my class of
English learners asked me to explain what their health insurance was and
why they had to have it. I was able to make a lesson on it, but it took a
lot of research on my part.

Megan Rhodes says:

Can you talk about mental health coverage? 

Darkknight96082 says:

Know whats cheaper than that? Single payer.

Wouter10123 says:

Bloody hell! I pay €92 per month, and I don’t have to pay anything extra
(up to a limit)… 

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