February 25, 2009
Suppose comparing health polices were as easy as reading a soup label that breaks down nutritional and caloric percentages and numbers. We’d call that progress.
That’s the goal of state Sen. Kirk Watson and the Texas Medical Association, who are pushing a bill to require Texas insurers to make basic health policy information available to consumers in a standard, consumer-friendly form modeled after the “nutrition facts” label on food products. Only this label would include monthly premiums, office visit co-pays, deductibles and other basic policy information. Says Watson, “If we’re going to label foods for what’s healthy, why not label the policies that also keep us healthy?”
A discerning health care shopper should put a premium on knowing specifically what is in an insurance policy. This bill wouldn’t be a cure-all because we can’t imagine a label large enough to detail all benefits, exclusions and costs. But perfect disclosure shouldn’t be the enemy of better disclosure. We hope this become law soon.