Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Shallow End of the Information Pool

I'm getting very tired of journalists who don't understand insurance and don't understand websites, yet feel free to write authoritatively, or at least pompously, about health care reform.

Here's David Brooks in the Times today:  "Obamacare, as originally envisioned, mandated that people join the system in order to redistribute money from the healthy and young to the sicker and older."

That's true as far as it goes, Dave.  But what about a 22-year-old man who gets blind drunk one Saturday night and on the way home drives his car into a telephone pole?  Is he better off with health insurance or without health insurance?

When I was at Cigna there was a million-dollar baby getting ready to hit the lifetime coverage limit.  Without coverage, the baby was going to die.  Is the baby old?  No, just sick.

(While I'm at it, is it a good thing that we got rid of lifetime coverage limits?  Or a bad thing?)

Insurance spreads risk across the entire risk pool.  Yes, older people are more likely to have predictable -- and expensive -- chronic conditions.  It is also the case that many of the sick old are over 65 and on Medicare, which means they are not part of the Obamacare risk pool.

Bottom line:  everybody benefits from having health insurance.

1 comment:

  1. It has become trendy to criticize Obamacare. Journalists are out scouring for some new angle and flaw so they can be the ones to break the story. Important points like those you make here get lost. Nice post!