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Obligatory pro forma insurance for American Cavemen

I got my insurance right here, Mr. Obama!
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

One aspect of the new healthcare reforms in the US is a requirement that people have health insurance. In the US folks are required to have car insurance too, although essentially no drunk driver does and this would seem difficult to enforce proactively. As regards health insurance, I understand that there will be some aspect of the federal tax which will note whether or not a person has insurance and tax extra if not.

Some young folks go without insurance because they are invincible (link). Others, many comparably invincible, are enraged that the government should require them to do anything in particular, but until the Caveman Sanctuary (link) is established and such folks can crawl peacefully into the underbrush to die of their wounds, when these people are seriously injured or ill they are ultimately cared for with public funds.

BUNGCO sees sanctimonious rage as a profit opportunity. It is well known that many things called "insurance" actually do little or nothing for the insured. BUNGCO Obligatory Insurance (BOI!) follows the letter of the law as regards qualifications to be an insurance policy, but exists chiefly to allow subscribers to avoid tax penalties.

I was wondering how one might structure the BOI to minimize overhead. It might use credit cards. On inserting a card, one can enter the quantity of insurance desired. Most folks choose $5 for 1 year. The "policy" is logged by the credit card # and name. 20% is retained by BUNGCO for administrative purposes, to fund the server which certifies that the policy holder indeed holds a health insurance policy.

In the event of an accident, the policy holder may cash out his (or her, I suppose!) policy, retrieving 80% of the insurance quantity purchased, which is credited back to their card.

BOI might also be used for obligatory auto insurance, functioning in much the same way.

bungston, Mar 24 2010

Invincibles! http://www.cnn.com/...dex.html#cnnSTCText
[bungston, Mar 24 2010]

Caveman sanctuary Caveman_20Sanctuary
Its Ladies Night in the Caveman Sanctuary! [bungston, Mar 24 2010]


       Obligatory auto insurance has mandatory state-set minimum coverage requirements for liability insurance. Typically, these minimums require a policy in the amount of at least $15,000 for injury or death to one person; $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person; $5,000 for damage to property. Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage. Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements.   

       Presumably the Federal legislation requiring individual health care insurance will require similar minimums for specified coverages. So, it may be difficult for BUNGCO to write the coverages required for a nominal token premium, like $5 per annum. And once the minimum coverages are set, state and federal insurance commissions will be charged with making certain that the private insurance companies are adequately funded and capitalized at all times to cover a percentage of anticipated claims...Just like it works (creakily) now.
jurist, Mar 24 2010

       //In the US folks are required to have car insurance too// Isn't this only required if you own or drive a car? i.e. it is not actually compulsory in the way that a compulsory health insurance is.
pocmloc, Mar 24 2010

       we have the requirement of car insurance in most states due not to the inability of individuals to pay for the damage that they may cause to the vehicles of others (mind that you can do considerable damage to a car with a potted plant but that no insurance is required to carry one) but to cover the potential unlimited medical liability. We have national car insurance BECAUSE we do not have national health care, in effect we realize that a simple injury incurred in an accident can ruin a completely blameless person's life, and we place a personal mandate on the drivers of vehicles in an attempt to protect that blameless person. If instead we said that all persons who are injured or ill are cared for and that a personal mandate to pay for it is placed on all people then we wouldn't need the degree of car insurance that we are forced to carry, nor would individual employers be required to bear a capricious burden to pay for their employees health care. It's all a crude form of social obligation and cavepersons who want to live in a society that will let them bleed to death, because nobody who cared about them heard them fall, can move to some other country.
WcW, Mar 24 2010

       moving car-related health insurance from car to national means that non-drivers get to pay for drivers.
FlyingToaster, Mar 25 2010

       Insurance "so easy a caveman can do it"? That sounds familiar...
lurch, Mar 25 2010

       Difference being that everybody who is alive could fall ill or be injured; you cannot opt out from the chance of getting sick or injured. Next time you have an emergency try to refuse care; say "i'm fine, my brother has a Jaws of Life and he can stitch me up when he gets me out of here and your care would cost to much". When you pass out they will still try to do their best to save your life. This is argument by absurdity.
WcW, Mar 25 2010

       Widely known to exist. This is what happens all over the world. You have to have insurance so when you are too poor to get good insurance, you the required minimum. In my personal case the minimum costs about 80 euro's per month.   

       Why you think anybody would sell you anything like that for 5 dollars a year when they can just as easily bleed you dry is beyond me.   

       (you do realise the american health insurance system was and still is the laughing stock of the world right? Just rubbing it in, carry on)
zeno, Mar 25 2010

       yes, zeno, we realize it when we beat back Canadians at the border -- where the hell are they going to go now?   

       85% of 300 million -- that's the population that was covered in the US prior to this bill = 255 million people are covered in the US. Mind you, the 15% still gets health care, but it's not covered.   

       Combined population of England, France, Germany and Spain: ~ 240 Million.   

       And while we do spend a larger percentage of our GDP on the system, it is, among other items, because health professionals are still typically well paid in this country, though who knows for how long, now.   

       As to outcomes, they work out this way because of the uninsured, to be sure -- if one was to take the statistics over the 85% that is insured, the US would score significantly higher. I've been exposed to the healthcare system in 3 different countries, 2 of them with universal care, and I have no doubt that the US' system, as it stands now, is vastly superior IF one is not indigent.   

       Generally speaking, the cavemen that created the US tended to err on the side of reducing restrictions on its citizens, and generally speaking, it's worked out pretty well.   

       The individual mandate is quite possibly unconstitutional, and if the conservative Supreme Court strikes this abomination down, the ruling party will be reminded that the cavemen also designed for self-correction.
theircompetitor, Mar 25 2010

       someone has to feed the lawyers
dentworth, Mar 25 2010

       The main problem is a fundamental one (already mentioned by WcW) which is that Illness just isn't something that's properly insurable. Everybody dies, and those illnesses for which a person is going to want to insure against are exactly the ones that are going to stick around for a long time. That just doesn't fit a business model that requires you to renew (and reprice) your bets periodically. The car insurance analogy is a bad one because it's not (practically) possible for your insurance to lapse and you are forced to renegotiate a price whilst you are in the midst of crashing your car. It's just not possible to crash your car, degeneratively, over a course of say, 20 years. The salesperson who manages to make that sale is going to be very pleased indeed.   

       Maybe government isn't the answer - but insurance really isn't a great solution either. Is there a third option that provides the best of both worlds? I heard that the New US Healthcare Bill manages to straddle both positions - either it's rampant conservatism or dangerous socialsim; But maybe, it's a rational attempt at finding a third option.
zen_tom, Mar 25 2010

       //mandatory minimum coverage requirements //

True. But I bet they don't set any statutory level for excess charges. So you might be able, for a while at least, to get away with an insurance policy where the claimant has to settle the first 99.9999etc % of any claim.
DrBob, Mar 25 2010

       Insurance is absolutely a horrible way to do it. To paraphrase Eli Wallache, if you're going to reform, reform, don't talk.   

       We had a problem with costs and insurance companies interfering in the process. We came up with something that's much worse from the right's perspective, and arguably worse from the left's perspective. Now Obama cleverly has said that if both sides are against he's doing something right. But sometimes, when most people think you're wrong, you're just wrong.
theircompetitor, Mar 25 2010

       If anything these are cunning reforms that will undermine public healthcare (or as some say, socialized medicine) by making the private system work better. The public healthcare system in Canada is now threatened by the passage of these reforms.   

       Hopefully (inevitably) the noncooperation of conservatives in the US (who can't see through the dogmatism of their party line) will cause the system to fail securing the future for international socialism.
rcarty, Mar 26 2010

       IMHO, this sounds like a great topic for overbaked.   

       The current system isn't exactly fabulous. We've had our own nightmares with it recently.   

       [tc], in the most measurable studies out there, we pay roughly twice as much for health care and wind up with half of the performance as other systems. Healthcare bills are the largest single driver of bankuptcy here.   

       By any measure, it's broken.
RayfordSteele, Mar 26 2010

       The overbaked aspect is the health care reform debates.   

       But I propose pro forma insurance. I am pleased to see that zeno states this is already done to some degree. I was going to salvage the idea from jinbish's trenchant observations with something like the 99.9% thing proposed by DrBob. Insurance costs are proportional to the likelihood that there will be a payout. If insurance is cheap it is because they think they are likely to not pay more often than pay. The Caveman Insurance is vanishingly unlikely to pay. But it might. It is sort of like a lottery ticket.
bungston, Mar 27 2010


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