Public pressure to extend medicare to those under 65 will mount if the private insurance industry fails to provide adequate protection at prices people can afford, Undersecretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Wilbur J. Cohen warned.
He said private industry must find ways to cover large areas of health care not now included under private insurance plans.
Cohen addressed the National Conference on Private Health Insurance in Washington, DC. The conference was convened by HEW Secretary John W. Gardner to help find ways to counter the rising cost of medical care through new patterns of coverage, financing, and prepayment.
"Health insurance should be covering at least 90% of consumer expenditures for health care," Cohen said.
"To meet the health needs of the public," he said, "private health insurance should cover all necessary health services for the diagnosis, therapeutic care, and prevention of illness. Gaps must be filled, such as the