Monday, April 13, 2009

Affordable Health Insurance Is Within Reach!

Sorry. It's just an ad I saw today, not a real proposal. But it reminded me of the difficulty of defining 'affordable' in this context. A policy could be affordable, in the sense of being cheap, but it might cover very little, or everything you file might be debated by the insurance company.

The ultimate difficulty is of course in defining what it is that the policy is buying for you, what it is that you might one day need (or 'need'), and whether what is written in the policy as covered actually will be covered. As long as these are unclear so is the question of how good the price is. That's just how it is.

This is not to argue that we can never know anything about the policy. Policies which cover only catastrophic care are fairly easy to understand and to evaluate. But those policies usually cover no other care, which means that all routine and non-catastrophe care will come out of your pocket. That may sound like a good deal for the young and healthy, but over the whole insured population it may mean that people delay care (because it's not covered) until indeed more catastrophe care will be needed.

It's interesting to read through an insurance policy, by the way. Take a glass of wine and a nice comfy blanket and settle down for a night or two. By doing this I found out that one policy I had in the past would not cover the care that might be caused by a failed suicide attempt! So one better succeed the first time...