Everything You Need to Know About the Public Option

man talking to a doctor

Nowadays, it is essential to have adequate medical insurance, especially in this pandemic. You can easily catch COVID-19 without you realising it. No matter how careful you are, the same can’t always be said of other people. Even if you stay at home, the items you have delivered can have traces of the virus on them.

That’s why we all need to have different options for securing medical services. There are many private medical insurance companies in the United States, but many can be a bit pricey. For someone who is earning minimum wage or has a family, the costs may be too much to handle. Unfortunately, a lack of options means we have no choice but to go along with it.

The US is famously known for its issues regarding public health care. Studies found that, despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, there are still roughly 20.3 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

Fortunately, the recent proposal for the new public health insurance option, also known as the public option, might be the solution.

What Is the Public Option

If you are not someone who regularly follows politics or is familiar with the platforms that officials are proposing, this may sound like something new to you.

The public option is the idea of a medical health insurance agency that the government runs. It is an alternative option to private health insurance and is designed to provide competition to existing private insurance agencies. In contrast to policies like Medicare for All, this one is entirely optional.

Services in the public option would include inpatient and outpatient care, mental health, newborn and pediatric care, maternity, and rehabilitation care. Drug prescription and treatments can also be covered.

The Difference with Medicare for All

This proposal is often compared and referred to as an alternative for Medicare for All. It also has its fair share of backlash from people. In Medicare for All, everyone will be covered in one universal health care system. As to how it will be funded, it varies for every plan, but the general idea is that it will be through tax. However, many are against it because of its obligatory nature.

This is why the public option was created. It follows a similar concept, but this one will be by choice. That means people can still go through with their usual private insurance plans. What it will do is provide an alternative for lower-class people who do not want to pay for expensive premiums. Both would have the same coverage, though.

empty hospital beds

What can this mean for private insurance companies?

Unlike private or commercial health insurance agencies, the public option will be providing cheaper and more affordable plans. Competition is necessary for any industry and the market as a whole. By having multiple competitors, companies and businesses are pressured to improve the quality of their services and products to give people more reason to pay for something more expensive.

In a lot of private plans, certain services will not be covered based on one’s price. As a result, a lot of people still pay out-of-pocket expenses that are often quite expensive. Usually, the medical services that cost the most are the ones that are offered in premium plans. The public option will be able to cover all of them for a better price.

What can these agencies do about this competition? They can consider lowering the cost of their price or providing additional training for improved services. If you are an agent in these companies, you may consider getting additional insurance courses to improve your promotional skills. Previously, it may have been easier to sell insurance due to a lack of options; then, the same might not be true if the public option happens.

What is the best option?

Currently, it is hard to say what is the best option. Both would undoubtedly help those uninsured find better options that fit their needs. The one takeaway that we can get from this is the need to create a more comprehensive and inclusive system that profit-hungry agencies do not run. Medical care should not be limited to just those that can afford it.

For the success of the public option, proper financing and support are needed. People might lack the necessary knowledge, so that should be addressed. If a clear financing option from knowledge is created, one that does not make excessive debt on future generations, then there is a good chance that this proposal can turn into a huge success.


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