Health insurance is an element of social justice and social security. It can be provided by the state, the society, or by private insurance companies that have a profit motive. Health insurance serves the psychological function of reassuring a person’s safety after a catastrophic incidence. Additionally, it has a financial purpose of ensuring that the insured or the beneficiaries do not experience monetary constraints incase of a tragedy. The psychological benefits of health insurance policies are more important than the financial gains hence giving rise to the need for the understanding the common ethical issues in public health insurance. Equity in health insurances and the inflexibility of employer health insurances are ethical issues in medical cover plans. This article argues that health insurance providers should offer comprehensive health insurance plans to enhance the equity in such medical policies.
Equity in Health Insurance
Health equity means affording patients with the necessary medical care whenever they need it. Therefore, it is essential that health insurance providers ensure that they offer plans that do not encourage vertical equity of care based on individual characteristics such as the socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or geographic location of the insured. The lack of health equity in any given health insurance plan has adverse effects on people at the bottom line. For instance, higher rates of chronic maladies are observed among the uninsured and the insured of lower socioeconomic status. Equity in health care is therefore considered to be the most important ethical issue and a preventive medical intervention that helps save financial resources and lives.
Inflexibility of Employer Health Insurance
This ethical challenge arises due to the incapability of employer health insurance to sufficiently cover laborers who work in high risky jobs. Notably, the lack of adequate medical cover results in reduced quality of lives among such employees and is, therefore, an ethical concern for this type of insurance. Workers in some hazardous turfs such as mining and construction are only afforded standard insurance, which is often insufficient when a tragedy happens. The only alternative for such workers is applying for private insurance policies which is significantly impractical due to the expensive nature of these medical cover plans. Consequently, it is an injustice to employees when organizations choose to offer only standard health insurance policies to maintain high profit margins. Alternatively, employer based health insurance should match the risk level of the employees’ occupation.
Kasule, O. H. K. (2012). Health insurance and the ethical issue of equity. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 7(2), 61-68.
Wang, Ben. (2012). Ethics behind Health Insurance: Is Reliance on Employer-Based Insurance Just? Princeton Journal of Bioethics. https://pjb.mycpanel2.princeton.edu/wp/index.php/2012/11/05/ethics-behind-health-insurance-is-reliance-on-employer-based-insurance-just/.