Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How William Shatner Could Reform Health Care More than Obama

So I apply for health insurance online because the Captain is one of those swashbuckling, self employed entrepreneur types that answers to no one, drives a motorcycle, calls his own shots, and ultimately as a result of his non-conformance has to get his own catastrophic health insurance.

I shopped online at esurance and noticed the application process was nearly identical to looking for hotels and flights. The only difference was that unlike, you can't "name your own price."

Thus I wish I had the Priceline Negotiator with The Big Deal backing me up when I got my quote.

It was a fair quote, but I noticed the one sidedness of it all. I either had to accept or not. There was no way for me to talk to the underwriter and say, "look, I use tobacco, but it's a cigar every 2 months. I'm not smoking a pack a day, cut me a deal or I'll go look elsewhere."

Alas, this option does not exist. However, if it did, I wonder what effect it would have on health insurance prices? Not that there are a lot of margins to be squeezed out of the insurance industry, but by simply having The Negotiator and The Big Deal on your side, perhaps some savings, or at least cost control would be realized.


Hot Sam said...

Insurance companies can be irrational. When my wife got her drivers permit, my insurance rates didn't budge. But the moment she EARNED her license, our collision insurance soared to $1000 a year.

Ok, my car is worth $3000 on Kelly Blue Book but the body dings would make it worth much less if I had to sell it. They didn't see the stupidity of trying to charge me more than a third of the value of my car each year. I told them I was willing to pay more, but they left me no choice but to self-insure. Note well that they did NOT increase our liability insurance premium. They face a bigger risk that she'll hit a $80,000 Mercedes than total my sub $3000 Nissan. The underwriters didn't grasp the concept of mutual gains from trade. They looked at their actuary tables, made a decision, and stuck with them.

I had a health insurance company approve six weeks of physical therapy. Somewhere in the middle I lost eligibility, but no one from the insurance company bothered to tell me or the therapist. So I had two more appointments out of pocket. Luckily, the provider raised the issue early or I would have had to pay much more.

So did you get insurance from Flo?

PeppermintPanda said...

To use automobile insurance to explain why health care is so expensive in the United States ...

Imagine what would happen if most people in the United States received "Automobile Insurance" from their employer, and they had no idea what the cost of this "Insurance" was and only had a limited understanding of what benefits were associated with it. This insurance covers the costs of regular maintenance, unexpected damage, damage to the vehicle due to negligence and abuse, and sometimes includes partial or full restoration of the vehicle regardless of the cost associated with it. Since an individual isn’t paying for the repairs to their vehicle there is little incentive to do the minimal maintenance to prevent repairs, and there is no reason to keep repair costs under control; and since there are many barriers from open competition between insurance companies, any increase in maintenance/repair costs the insurance company incurs can be passed onto their customer.

In this type of environment, how many think a family could get "Car Insurance" for less than $6,000 per car?

How many people think that the $1 car at the end of the street that barely runs should be ensured "insurance" because it isn't fair to descriminate against pre-existing conditions?

Anonymous said...

I have a independant agency and represent over 50 companies. Let me shop for you!