Whole Foods market is using risk management and free market principles to cut health care costs. In risk management, you allocate resources based on the probability of something bad happening and the impact or severity of the consequences if it happens.
Cancer is low probability, high impact.
The common cold is high probability, low impact.
High deductibles basically cover the first (Cancer) and make you pay for the second (common cold).
Low deductibles basically cover both, but make you pay for it up front in higher premiums.
Therefore, every time someone gets health care and says to themselves, "Go ahead and do X, my insurance will pay for it", what they are really saying is "Go ahead and do X, all the people with low deductibles already paid for it". This increases demand and results in higher costs.
Additionally, when you use your insurance, health care costs more because the insurance company charges additional fees.
The best deal is high deductible insurance: you're not paying the insurance company for your low risk care AND you're not paying for all the frivolous low risk care that everyone else is getting.
Whole Foods' approach is to have a high deductible ($2500), which greatly reduces cost, and then put the savings in an individual employees account which they manage themselves.
The employees then decide how best to use the limited resources of their spending account using free market principles.
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