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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Catching Up with Chad Harris of No Insurance Club

I recently had a chance to catch up with Chad Harris of No Insurance Club. Harris runs a service in which basic medical services are provided without getting insurance. Instead the doctor and patient enter into an agreement in which the doctor agrees to provide basic health care for a year and the patient pays for each year up front. So, for $499 a single person gets up to 12 basic visits as well as all related medical tests for an entire year as well. There are no forms, no insurance approvals, no waiting, because it's not insurance. Instead, it's an agreement between the patient and doctor. It's a $799 for the same set of services for a family of four.

I wanted to catch up with Chad Harris because when we spoke last summer he told me that Obamacare would likely put him out of business. Harris was feeling a lot more confident these days. He's now become Obamacare's biggest fan. That's not necessarily a personal belief but rather a business decision.

With the passage of Obamacare, everyone involved in health care must adapt and that include Harris' No Insurance Club. In fact, Harris was very confident that No Insurance Club would thrive within Obamacare. For starters, he believes that the niche of so called concierge medicince would expand. Concierge medicine is when you the patient have all your needs catered to you.

That view is borne out of the conservative belief that adding thirty some million new patients without adding more doctors will increase waits and decrease. With No Insurance Club, that won't happen. For the annual fee, you are guaranteed a minimum number of visits with no waiting.

In other words, when invariably medical service goes down under Obamacare, you'll want to move outside the system and that's the niche that No Insurance Club will explore. Second, so far at least, so called strict catastrophic coverage won't be outlawed. Harris sees an opportunity. He believes that it will be much cheaper for most to pay the fine, get his service and then catastrophic coverage and it will be much cheaper than getting the necessary insurance.

That's not only ironic but a sign of just how rudimentary our health care debate is. Such services were never a part of any debate. If the combination of No Insurance Club, a fine, and catastrophic is cheaper than full insurance service, wouldn't it mean that it's exactly these types of services that could bring down health care costs? Yet, the debate centered around universal coverage. Worse yet, this sort of idea would cost the government absolutely nothing. Yet, health care reform had to pass because we're at a crisis.

Furthermore, Harris is making contingencies to attach No Insurance Club to larger insurance platforms. Why? It's because Harris understands that Obamacare greatly expands government control and power and the feds can at anytime outlaw anything that isn't health insurance. So, No Insurance Club will be prepared for that day.

Finally, Harris is even prepared for Armageddon. In the event that Obamacare makes our health care system a complete disaster, No Insurance Club is building a hospital center in a resort town in Mexico 45 miles from the Arizona border. It's concierge medical care on steroids. The patient would be able to get all sorts of elective medical procedures and they'd stay at a resort. So, they could play several rounds of golf, spend the day at the pool, and then go to the doctor. All these doctors would be Americans. It's an idea that has a market under any health care scenario. In other words, there's plenty of people that would want to be catered to like this in any health care environment. Yet, if Obamacare totally destroys our health care system, this resort town would be a beacon for Americans to still receive top notch service from American doctors without dealing with the Obamacare disaster.

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