Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Health Insurance and Life Insurance

I've said it before and I will say it again - the answer to our health care cost issues in this country can be at least partially solved by a change in pricing. If we charge for health insurance the same way we charge for life insurance, we would save a lot of money because the fatties would have to pay their fair, and this is important, their CONTROLLABLE share.

Here's an article that says 10% of our medical spending is going for our obese fellow Americans. Talk about waste in the system!

Let's take two people. I'll be one of them. I am 33 years old, I weigh 215 pounds, and I don't smoke. The guy next to me is 33 years old, weighs 350 pounds, smokes two packs of Marlboro Reds a day and drinks nothing more than coffee and Mountain Dew. If this person and I went to get life insurance, the other guy would have to pay nearly TRIPLE what I would pay for the same amount of coverage (those who have bought life insurance know what I am talking about). Let me put that in simple terms: over the 20 year span of our life insurance policy, my friendly co-worker is 3 times more likely to die than I am. But if this other person and I participate in our employer provided health insurance program, we would pay exactly the same amount per month, and we would have the same co-pays and deductibles. Does it seem reasonable to assume that we will consume the same amount of health services? NO. Then why do we pay the same amount?

I am NOT in favor of genetic screening for disease and pricing health plans that way. That's not fair - you cannot control the genes you were born with. But you can control what you eat, what you smoke and what you drink. I think it is reasonable to ask people to pay for the choices they make. I also think that if my coworker's out of pocket expense what three to four times what mine was, a lot of people out there would stop consuming all the bad things that are making them fat.

Who knows, we could probably pay for health insurance for all the kids in this country with the savings. But I guess that makes me a socialist.


ArtShare said...

I like that. I also have never understood why there can't be more of an oversight and even sort of limiter's to adjunct the 'lifestyle' actuary payment scale you're talking about. As in, the government saying 'no, you're just not allowed to treat ____, ____, and ____ situation as pre-existing conditions that essentially doom you to inadequate or $-ally inaccessible healthcare forever more. Or, you just aren't allowed to raise your premiums 10-18% every year for three years in a row (as happened with my last employer). You just aren't allowed to do that. deal with it. I don't know what that makes me - is that Libertarian, socialist, asinine? I'm not sure but being able to charge for the services (and risks towards service useage)combined with some conservatively determined but forcefully applied 'tough love', we could be gettin' some kids, poor folks, and small business employees healthy.

ArtShare said...

ps - you're right, get that new Grizzly Bear album by hook or crook...I agree!