Saturday, December 07, 2013

Has pent up medical demand been taken into account with the ACA?

Due to pent up medical demand, I wonder if there will be a lot of cost overruns adding to the deficit from the Affordable Care Act come early 2014? I support the idea of the ACA for including more people under Medicaid and so forth, but if there are cost overruns the Republicans will create a lot of noise. I guess one should say, "as if the Republicans haven't been creating a lot of noise anyway." Pent up medical demand could be an issue.

My own dental situation is a good example even though it's dental, rather than medical. When I first got onto a dental plan (I'm lucky to have a dental plan) I hadn't been to a dentist for any preventative work for 30 years. I had a few cavities filled, but no cleaning or preventative work for 30 years. The dentist did a lot of catch up work during the first year of my dental plan. I paid part of it out of pocket, but the plan had to pay a lot more, in it's first year, than it does now with just ongoing retinue prevention.

I remember my boss jokingly asking me if my dentist was buying a new yacht when I told him how many appointments I had that first year. Of course, my boss wasn't out any money from that cluster of appointments since it was covered under the insurance plan. My employer just paid a fixed premium, but it cost the insurance plan more, that first year, for more than a normal number of dental appointments.

They must have taken this into account for the new enrollees in Obamacare, but I wonder. In the long run, it's better, and even cheaper, to provide prevention, but it may cost more in the short run. Republicans will scream.