Paul Zane Pilzer is interviewed by Gerri Willis live on CNN
Full transcript below:
Interview About The New Health Insurance Solution with CNN Anchor Gerri Willis – October 8, 2005
WILLIS: A lot of us get our health insurance coverage through our employers, but is that the best way to do it? Some say you may be better off getting coverage on your own. Good news for roughly 47 million Americans without protection at all. Paul Zane Pilzer in is the author of “The New Health Insurance Solution: How To Get Cheaper, Better Coverage Without A Traditional Employer Plan.” And he’s joining us now from Salt Lake City. Welcome.
PAUL ZANE PILZER: “THE NEW HEALTH INSURANCE SOLUTION”: Thank you, Gerri. It’s good to be here.
WILLIS: Now, let me just say before we get started that you believe so much in this plan that you’ve started a company to sell insurance if I’m reading notes correctly.
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Yes, more than sell insurance. We work with large Fortune 500 companies to show them how they’d be better off giving an allowance tax-free to each employee to purchase their own individual insurance policy.
WILLIS: All right. Let’s get to the details of this, because I think a lot of people out there are saying how can this be possible? How can this be possible, Paul?
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Well, basically what’s happened is 46 states have now liberalized their laws on individual insurance. Individual insurance is a policy that you purchase direct for your family from the local Blue Cross or major carrier in your state. Those policies today are, on average, less than half of the price for the same coverage of an employer policy.
WILLIS: But let me interrupt you here. I mean, the reality is is that I don’t pay 100 percent of my coverage, my company picks up a lot of that tab. Isn’t that a good way to do it? It reduces my cost.
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Yes. The problem is that if you have a spouse or children, in the past, your company paid the complete cost of your spouse or children. Today most companies pay 50 percent or less of the cost of your spouse or children. That’s why it’s better for you to move your spouse or family on to their own individual policy that you keep even if you lose your job and it’s half the price.
WILLIS: I think what is astonishing is that I know a lot of people out there who actually do work full-time don’t have healthcare coverage. So they’re actually looking for solutions here, too. Could this help them?
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Very much so. We’ve seen a whole revolution now that the states have liberalized their individual insurance policy laws. Today you can purchase good, high-deductible coverage, which is all most people need, for about $90 a month per person in all 46 states and soon it will be in all states.
Individual insurance is by and large the way to go for most people, but most people are clueless about how to buy individual insurance. The big changes this year, a company can give you an allowance and say go buy your own, tax free. I’ll reimburse you for it.
WILLIS: But I got to ask you. It sounds to me like, at the end of the day, if this is available and a lot of employees start moving into it, it’s going to be added incentive for employers to say, you know, I’m not going give my employees some kind of health insurance coverage because at the end of day I don’t have to. I know a lot of insurers don’t give coverage now, but now it would be even more, given your scenario.
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Yes and that’s actually a good thing because right now only 61 percent of the jobs in America have health insurance down from 69 percent three years ago. That’s seven million people. Companies can no longer afford to provide health benefits and today you don’t keep a job for life. You’re much safer having health insurance that doesn’t terminate when your job terminates. Health insurance with an employer is not insurance because the moment you get sick and can’t come to work you lose your health insurance.
WILLIS: Well, I think you’d probably have people debate you on that idea, but let’s just talk a little bit more here about how much you might be able to save eventually and whether this is — your idea actually just helps people who are already really healthy.
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Absolutely. This is mainly for the 90 percent of American employees who are healthy. What’s changed is that insurers are now allowed to accept or reject you whether or not you’re healthy and when they accept you they’re stuck with you.
They can never raise your premium under federal law for the rest of your life if you get sick once they take you. So 90 percent of employees who are healthy can get health insurance with the same benefits from their employer for about half the price and then the premium can’t go up if they get sick.
WILLIS: Well, we thank you for your time today and good luck with your business.
PAUL ZANE PILZER: Thank you very much.