Monday, June 09, 2008

Even More On Health Insurance

Recently I suffered a week or so of nightly migraines. When I was thinking about going to see a doctor (because of the sudden increased frequency) I got really scared, and the scariness was not the idea that I might have a brain tumor (though that thought passed my pained mind, too): It was the fear that nothing unusual was found to be wrong but that I'd be left with such enormous bills for all the tests and the reading of those tests and the rent of the rooms in which those tests are performed that I couldn't cope with my other financial obligations over this summer.

And yes, I do have insurance, and yes, I'm not among the poor. But the prices of health care services run in thousands, not in hundreds, where I live, and the insurance always seems to reserve the right to decide that I wasn't, after all, insured for this or that specific example, not to mention the covering of only "customary and usual charges", as opposed to the actual charges being made.

All this means that I don't feel insured. It may well be the case that all of those costs would have been covered by the insurer. That I don't trust that is because of my past experiences.

But the fundamental point of insurance is the idea of turning the risk of a large expense into a known but much smaller expense. The more we tinker with the system to change that the less insured, more unsafe, people feel.