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Health Insurance

Include life insurance
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Remember when the cigarette companies tried to tell Hungary that they save Social Security money when people smoke? That's because they die earlier.

That got me to thinking. With some HMOs it is easier to get care when you are not very sick. I'm not implying any bad action on their part, but there is a definite economic incentive in many cases for you to die if you are very sick.

They should be required to include a life insurance policy with every health policy. It doesn't have to be large: maybe $10-20k or so. Maybe it could be required for them to offer the option (you could pay extra for it).

This changes the economic incentive. For example, maybe a doctor would be given more encouragement to consider surgery even if there's only a 30% chance that it would save the patient's life.

I would certainly pay the extra money!

newt, Mar 12 2005

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       Someone added a note (then deleted it) that this is what malpractice insurance does.   

       I don't think it is enough.   

       I had a friend once who was having heart problems. He always seemed to be battling the HMO to just do something. He died before he could convince them to do a heart bypass (or something, ANYthing, else) for his clogged arteries. The HMOs costs were very low. An accountant would be proud of the numbers if he didn't dig too deep.   

       Could his relatives sue? Maybe. It would be a difficult case. This is definitely a judgment call by the doctor. Do you think the judgement call would be different if there was a life insurance payment after he died? It would certainly look different to the accountants (and their bosses and the investors).
newt, Mar 15 2005
  

       I'm in coffee withdrawel, or I don't understand this (these?).   

       Are you suggesting no-fault universal death coverage?
Life insurance not be paid if death results by elective surgery?
Perhaps a rider for health insurance to overstate a person's coverage in circumstances where the patient is potentially worth more dead than alive?
reensure, Mar 15 2005
  

       I'm just suggesting a plain, old-fashioned term life insurance policy be offered by the HMO.   

       Right now there is a cost incentive for you to be healthy, but if you get very sick, the cost incentive is for you to die, plain and simple. (One can only hope that basic ethical considerations would override this). This is a simple proposal to reverse the cost incentive. In fact the best benefit for the HMO would be for you to live as long as possible.   

       Your health and the fact that you are alive are directly tied to each other. Why are our health and life insurance completely separate?
newt, Mar 15 2005
  

       But such a small death benefit would be almost meaningless. If you have a medical condition which will be fatal if not treated, and will cost $500,000 to treat, $10,000 to let you die is an easy decision, assuming you're morally bankrupt.
Freefall, Mar 15 2005
  

       Freefall,   

       So you're saying you don't think the insurance is enough?
newt, Mar 20 2005
  

       I think he's saying that a health insurance company would be more interested in assuring a patient stayed alive if that company was also forced to pay out for funeral expenses if the patient died.   

       In general, health insurance policies are most rewarding to the insurer if the patient lives well with little need for medical intervention, and then dies. A lingering illness is expensive for the insurance, and only ends with recovery, or death.   

       If the death from a lingering illness cost the company money, they would be willing to pay for more expensive proceedures that could provide better chances of recovery.   

       I kind of like this idea. The only problem is that insurers know rapid recovery normally costs less in the long run, but they still drag their feet.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 15 2010
  
      
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