Fictional Book Proposes Real Solutions

Published June 1, 2007

Healthcare Happily Ever After
Robert Hopper, Ph.D. and Debra Hopper
Overland Park: A.D. Banker and Company®, L.L.C. 2007
88 pages, paperback, ISBN 978-0-9773986-1-4, $9.95
Available from the publisher
Call Pam Reihs at 800/255-0408 ext. 408

The thought of health insurance can conjure up images of actuaries wearing green eyeshades, high-pressure sales agents, spiraling premium costs, and a mountain of incomprehensible invoices and statements.

There are three things you know about health insurance for sure, especially if you are self-employed: It’s tough to understand. It’s difficult to afford. And you have little or no control over your own fate or money.

Now imagine this: A left-leaning fiction writer and right-leaning insurance broker collaborate on a book about how to fix the nation’s health care system. No need to imagine–this actually happened.

The result, Health Care Happily Ever After, by Bob and Debra Hopper, takes the complex world of health savings accounts (HSAs) and makes the subject totally understandable. They manage to do this by using a plot, storyline, characters, and dialogue.

You’ll laugh and sometimes feel a tug on your heartstrings. That’s something almost unheard-of in insurance industry literature.

Equity Explained

Healthcare Happily Ever After allows you to see how HSAs could actually reduce your health insurance premiums. While the characters are fictional, most of the numbers are right out of the real-life rate tables of the largest health care insurer in the country.

And, lo and behold, you discover how you can build equity in your health care plan. Paying to “rent” your health insurance plan from every paycheck, and having nothing to show for it at the end of the year, can now be a thing of the past.

The plot follows a fictional U.S. presidential hopeful who is looking for a solution to America’s health care dilemma. Once his intrepid young aide is put onto the scent, you meet some interesting everyday people, even a compassionate actuary.

With the help of comments from a stressed young waitress, a romantic economist slices directly to the heart of the problem–“Third-party payment of non-insurable events is the cause of rising premiums.”

Advantages Demonstrated

Various characters then demonstrate how HSAs work:

  • A befuddled human resources director finds hope to change a proposed 25 percent increase in premium rates into a savings of $32,000 a year for her company, while still putting $544 per month into HSAs for each of the company’s 18 employees.
  • A doting U.S. Treasury official smoothly explains the triple tax benefits of HSAs: Money goes in tax-free, accumulates interest tax-free, and can be used tax-free for medical expenses.
  • A New Age health enthusiast helps a brave disabled woman and her husband find hope for their future health care financial needs by using two individual HSAs instead of a family plan.

Consensus Reached

In the end they all agree–HSAs are the very best health care choice for the nation. And with a little “help” for those who really need it, the presidential hopeful finds a plan that can appeal across party lines.

A quick and enjoyable read, Healthcare Happily Ever After should be high on the reading list of every household in America where health care costs are a concern.

Jim Porterfield ([email protected]) is director of special research projects for the Economic Analysis Team at the American Farm Bureau Federation.