Insurance — Against What?


The brouhaha over whether Catholic institutions should be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception highlights everything that is wrong with medical insurance today. And Obama’s “compromise” of requiring insurance companies to provide contraception for free, thereby sidestepping the argument that Catholic institutions shouldn’t have to pay for it, is even worse.

No one should use insurance to pay for contraception. It is a regular, pre-planned expense of daily living. There is nothing to “insure.” There is no guesswork in whether a person will need it or not. It is the best example of the current problems with medical "insurance."

The purpose of insurance is to protect against unexpected catastrophic expenses — the kind of costs you wouldn’t be able to cover on your own. It is a way of hedging your bets against disaster. People pool their money, and whoever has a disaster gets to take money out of the pot. If too many disasters occur, the pool runs dry. The only remedy is to increase the amount each person pays into the pool, and decrease (through healthier, safer living) the number of disasters that individuals can’t pay for themselves.

Some people may never “get their money’s worth” out of their insurance premiums, because they remain healthy and accident-free. And that’s a good thing.

Insurance is the lottery you don’t want to win.

We have to stop thinking about insurance as some kind of unlimited prepaid plan in which everyone scrambles to “get their money’s worth.” For an insurance program to work, there need to be more healthy people than unhealthy people. Insurance premiums always have to outweigh medical payments. But when we start covering every little doctor’s appointment and medical expense, there isn’t enough money left for the true disasters without vastly increasing the premiums.

Contraception is a perfect example. There is nothing catastrophic or unexpected about its cost. If a person is having sex and doesn’t want to make a baby, the cost of contraception is as regular and predictable as clockwork. There is no unexpected event to insure against (unless the contraception doesn’t work — but that’s a different medical event). There is no reason to insure against the possibility that you will have sex.

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All the liberal talking heads talked about women's health care and the need for free contraception, as in birth control pills. That's like saying getting pregnant is a disease. Besides, if a woman doesn't want to get pregnant she obviously can decide not to have sex, or at least the kind of sexual activity that would get her pregnant. Then there are condoms. They are much cheaper, work really well (if used properly), and don't have any of the possible side effects that birth control pills have. Also, the pill won't protect a woman against sexually transmissible diseases, and that is a health problem. So, shouldn't the government be promoting the condom rather than the pill? That is, if the government has the legitimate constitutional power to force people into it's health care mold.

B Clark

The statement that contraception is NOT insurance is accurate. However, extending the discussion to explain HOW insurance should work misses the mark by a wide margin.

Insurance should be voluntarily entered into by those who perceive they are unable to adequately bear the risks. Those who bear no risk at all or for whom the worst risk is totally bearable due to their own finances should not forced under threat of violence, to participate in a grand experiment which so far has demonstrated failure in almost every measure imaginable.

Chris Davis

Indeed, contraception itself is a form of insurance. So now we are insuring insurance. And each level of insurance will only raise the cost of medical care.

Luther Jett

For some reason, my homeowner's insurance won't cover the cost of a plumber if my sink gets clogged. This is an outrage!

Jim Stiles

Maybe Obamacare should provide food (sarcasm mode), since we all need food everyday in order to maintain health.

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