Monday, February 21, 2011

Even with money, buying individual health insurance is difficult for many people, and the GOP doesn't care

Donna Dubinsky has an interesting “Sunday Opinion” piece in The New York Times Feb. 20, p 10 of “Week in Review” (link here), “Money won’t buy  you  health insurance”.

She describes the experience of applying as a family of three, after her husband retired, and being denied for minor conditions for which family members had sought treatment.  Then her broker suggested applying individually for each person. She was in a Catch-22 about having to admit she had been denied coverage.
She had to ponder how to say as little as possible and be truthful, as a “condition” is not the same thing as an episode of treatment.

She points out that insurance coverage helps get discounts of up to 70% even when there is a big copay.
She writes, “the members of Congress who want to repeal the provision of last year’s  health insurance law that makes it easier for individuals to buy coverage must assume that uninsured people do not want to buy it, or are just too cheap or too poor to do so.”

Remember the 1997 film “The Rainmaker” based on John Grisham’s novel, to say nothing of Michael Moore’s “Sicko”.

The literal interpretation of the notion of “moral hazard” when applied to health insurance would mean that every person is morally responsible for any of his or her own “deficits”.  It’s an idea that leads in fascism, and that lay beneath the ideology of ancient Sparta.

Imagine what the individual market is like for long term care insurance. 

My own experience as an ING retiree was having only 70% coverage for inpatient the last two years before Medicare, although fortunately I never needed it.

Picture: My parents before marriage in 1940, Washington DC.

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