Is your health care “junk care”?

Money, calculator and a stethoscope symbolizing health care coverage

Every day in our country, thousands of sick patients seek an emergency room or clinic for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, many of these patients will receive an unexpected grim and desperate financial prognosis as they discover a lack of health care coverage when they need it most.

Is your health care a “skinny” plan?

For some, their high deductibles and copays mean they are required to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before

For others, they discover that their employer’s plan is really a “skinny” plan or Minimal Essential Coverage (MEC) or Minimum Value Plan (MV), which covers their flu shot or a wellness visit, but leaves the patient responsible for unaffordable life-saving therapies or surgery. These scenarios are unacceptable, unethical, and an insult to every patient in need!

Hispanics and health care disparities

Hispanics in particular already have a difficult time navigating the health care system due to lack of information and language barriers.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 12% of U.S. Hispanics are in fair or poor health. Latinos are also dealing with epidemic proportions of diabetes in their communities, and recent statistics show many Hispanics (32%) suffer from obesity.

How did “skinny’ or “junk” health care coverage start?

“Skinny” plans, or what I consider “junk” coverage, began about three years ago as employers exploited a loophole in the Obamacare/Affordable Care Act to avoid penalties by offering minimal coverage to their employees.

Until patients get sick, they are often under the false assumption of having safe and effective coverage, but nothing could be further from the truth in our present health care crisis. The facts are currently speaking for themselves. While corporations and insurance companies are reporting record profits, millions of Americans are filing for the most common cause of bankruptcy: health care debt.

Millions of others, especially Latino and other minority communities, have to financially compromise their costs of food, rent, and education in order to pay their medical bills. All this, while often fighting for their health and lives!

Despite having the best doctors, medical technology, and research in the world, our health care system is collapsing.

Instead of being protected and served, patients are increasingly the victims of exploitation in a system which has lost its soul and moral compass. All one has to do to confirm this is to watch the daily news on health care reform.

Better yet, avoid watching it! It’s hazardous to your health! I know that many doctors out there like me will continue to fight for our patients and get health care back on track. But meanwhile, look at your health care coverage, seek advice, and beware of  “junk care.”


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