Monthly Archives: August 2009

insurance rant

Becca linked to an article about a woman who was annoyed at having to pay largely out of pocked when she had a baby. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between insurance and a health care plan. Insurance, per google’s definitions, is either “promise of reimbursement in the case of loss” or “A means of indemnity against occurrence of a uncertain event” or ” form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss.” In other words, it’s money you pay to someone in case you have a problem with your health. It’s not a system where you give someone $10 a month to pay your $100 monthly health bills. You give someone $10 a month to pay your $5 a month health bills in case they become $100. If they’re already $100, the health care company is going to want at least $105 a month and perhaps $200 a month if initially high bills imply a higher risk of increase.

Anyway, what health insurance company in their right mind would pay to “insure” a married childless 25 year old woman against the risk of pregnancy? It doesn’t make any sense. Let’s assume 50% of privately insured couples between 25 and 35 will have a baby in that time period. Either everyone can pay $10000 for those babies, or the 50% that have the babies can pay $20000. I’m not sure the former method necessarily makes more sense than the latter.

Next, the author says, “After several years in Europe—where coverage was, as goes the cliché, comprehensive and nearly free . . . .” Coverage in Europe is *not* free. Everyone pays for it with extremely high taxes. And perhaps that’s right and reasonable. However, calling it free is ridiculous. In fact, I would say anyone who moves to Europe for a few years to have a baby or other expensive health care events is ripping off their fellow citizens, since they skipped paying the taxes their entire lives that pay for this stuff.

It seems like people should form cooperatives to negotiate better deals with insurance companies. These cooperatives could be extended the same rights as employers. I know my employer re-negotiates our healthcare every year, and my payments haven’t gone up at all in the last 3 years despite constant benefits as we’ve grown larger and our bargaining power has increased. Negotiating to become a member of a cooperative would be interesting since the cooperatives would obviously want to seek out young healthy members. Anyway, some kind of negotiating power is obviously needed.

Society should probably bear the cost of childbirth, and that’s how employee-based health care works. A company has a mix of old and young, single and married, so only a few people are having children at a time. Everyone pays for it. However, an individual planning imminently to have a child railing against an insurance company for not wanting to pay for it is silly. Insurance companies are for-profit establishments. I read so often about people complaining about not being able to find “insurance” for existing problems or complaints. Insurance is protection against future catastrophe, and that’s why you have to buy it when you’re healthy or else expect to at least pay for your existing complaints. Let’s not blame the insurance company. Blame the government for not mandating coverage, perhaps.

Also, the writer says she shows up at the hospital thinking she’s covered. Apparently they had to search for a company with maternity coverage – and they didn’t check what the limit was? My insurance comes with a little book explaining what my benefits are. It’s 30 pages with large writing and really not all that complicated. Some things are covered; other’s aren’t. I’m surprised this clearly articulate journalist shouldn’t figure it out.


I occasionally splurge on things that are completely unnecessary, and I know it’s silly. However, one splurge that I have never regretted is Anthropol ogie bedding. I bought a quilt from there a couple of years ago, and 2 years later, it still gives me great pleasure whenever I see my bed, which is often. I notice they still have lots of cool new quilts this year.

swimming practice

We found it hard to get going this weekend. I think it was the heat. It was in the low 90s – inside and out. I actually didn’t mind. Low 90s, high 80s I can handle, and I like to feel warm for a few weeks out of the year. It’s been great wearing shorts around and so on. Anyway, we finally got out of the house Saturday night to see Moon. For the aerospace-inclined, and even the not so inclined, it’s definitely worth seeing. It was creepy and thought-provoking. B and I have been talking about it ever since we saw it. In a rare exception to standard Sci-fi behavior, I found the characters believable. Unlike in Sunshine and Starwars, rational human behavior was not abandoned. (I know some disagree with me on this.) I thought, in general, the characters acted fairly rationally.

Sunday we ventured to Rattle*snake lake. A lake named like that in TX or even Virgi nia might give me pause, but not in Western Washin gton. We got the dog swimming, always a fun challenge. He was doing this thing where he’d hop along on his hind legs while paddling with his front legs. It was very funny. We took him to the lake last weekend as well, and we had a float out with us. We basically dragged him out, and when we let him go, he high-tailed it (literally) back to shore – but first stopped to grab the float in his teeth. We’d been letting him rest his paws on it, and he clearly detected that it would keep him safe from drowning. Such a funny creature.