Health insurers drop children-only plans

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Lazar » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:27 pm UTC

From the LA Times:

Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions.

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will halt new child-only policies in California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere as early as Thursday when provisions of the nation's new healthcare law take effect, including a requirement that insurers cover children under age 19 regardless of their health histories.

The action will apply only to new coverage sought for children and not to existing child-only plans, family policies or insurance provided to youngsters through their parents' employers. An estimated 80,000 California children currently without insurance — and as many as 500,000 nationwide — would be affected, according to experts.

What pisses me off is not the fact that health insurers are greedy bastards (that's nothing new), but rather the mind-numbing naivety of Democrats who thought that the for-profit system could be made to work.
Exit the vampires' castle.

Spambot5546
Posts: 1466
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:34 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Spambot5546 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:42 pm UTC

I was under the impression they were going to subsidize covering children who couldn't be covered profitably. Surely they realized that every health insurance company in the country would be bankrupt in a month if they actually tried to cover pre-existing conditions for the same cost?
"It is bitter – bitter", he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

Роберт
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Роберт » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:42 pm UTC

Yeah, it seems likely that the lawmakers were not good at understanding the effects that regulation was likely to trigger.
The Great Hippo wrote:[T]he way we treat suspected terrorists genuinely terrifies me.

User avatar
BlackSails
Posts: 5315
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:48 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby BlackSails » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:45 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Yeah, it seems likely that the lawmakers were not good at understanding the effects that regulation was likely to trigger.


In general, I think lawmakers do not understand most of the effects of laws that they pass.

User avatar
netcrusher88
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:35 pm UTC
Location: Seattle

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:51 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:I was under the impression they were going to subsidize covering children who couldn't be covered profitably. Surely they realized that every health insurance company in the country would be bankrupt in a month if they actually tried to cover pre-existing conditions for the same cost?

A problem suspiciously unique to the US.

You want a private health insurance industry, it needs to be regulated tighter than um... other things. Than it is now. You want to stop offering coverage for children except as part of family plans because you can't reject them because they're diabetic or whatever? You just earned your company a fat tax hike to pay for S-CHIP.
Sexothermic
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. -Voltaire
They said we would never have a black president until Swine Flu. -Gears

Chen
Posts: 5442
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Chen » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

In California, the stakes may be particularly high for insurers who abandon child-only policies. A bill awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature would bar such companies from selling insurance in the lucrative individual market for five years. A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman said the governor had not yet taken a position on the measure.


So a bill was proposed to penalize insurance companies from taking on policies that will lose them money. Won't this just cause them to make child only policies ridiculously expensive instead of cutting them completely? I mean if the government wants to regulate health care than come out and do that rather than trying to force private companies to do it.

Frankly I don't really see how you can call it insurance anyways. If you can get a policy AFTER you're sick there's very little incentive to buy in early...and without that the system really doesn't work on its own.

Seraph
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Seraph » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:00 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:I was under the impression they were going to subsidize covering children who couldn't be covered profitably.

I would think that was what the article was refering to when it said "Some White House officials, however, noted that families who can't find policies might be able to sign up for high-risk pools being set up around the country as part of the new healthcare law."

Czhorat
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Czhorat » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Frankly I don't really see how you can call it insurance anyways. If you can get a policy AFTER you're sick there's very little incentive to buy in early...and without that the system really doesn't work on its own.


The issue isn't only people choosing to not buy, but also people who for whatever reason can't pay there insurance, lose or change jobs and can not afford private health insurance while waiting for new benefits to kick in, etc.

If you leave your job and have a pre-existing condition you have no choice but to pay out of pocket to provide "continuity of insurance"; otherwise your condition could essential be uncoverable for the rest of your life.

I'm assuming/hoping that the new health-care reform law changed that.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:54 am UTC

Just a question: would this mean that orphans are for all intents and purposes uninsurable?
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

elasto
Posts: 3481
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:22 am UTC

Healthcare, like road building, the military etc is too important to be paid for by the private sector. It can't possibly be done equitably. It needs to be done through taxation to pool the risk and share the cost fairly.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:29 am UTC

elasto wrote:Healthcare, like road building, the military etc is too important to be paid for by the private sector. It can't possibly be done equitably. It needs to be done through taxation to pool the risk and share the cost fairly.

Sure, then what do you do about people who take health risks unnecessarily?
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Lazar » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:56 am UTC

Kyrn wrote:Sure, then what do you do about people who take health risks unnecessarily?

Well, try to mitigate it through things like occupational safety standards, stringent food and environmental regulations, and assorted public safety measures like seatbelt laws. Beyond that, people taking health risks is just a cost of running society. Most developed countries manage to do it quite well.
Exit the vampires' castle.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:01 am UTC

Lazar wrote:
Kyrn wrote:Sure, then what do you do about people who take health risks unnecessarily?

Well, try to mitigate it through things like occupational safety standards, stringent food and environmental regulations, and assorted public safety measures like seatbelt laws. Beyond that, people taking health risks is just a cost of running society. Most developed countries manage to do it quite well.

Technically, most developed countries aren't doing very well, considering the recent rash of economic crisis. :p
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Lazar » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:08 am UTC

Well, better than the US. It's good to have a solid social safety net, and some limits on the concentration of wealth.
Exit the vampires' castle.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:24 am UTC

Lazar wrote:Well, better than the US. It's good to have a solid social safety net, and some limits on the concentration of wealth.

However, what constitutes as "a solid social security net" depends on your point of view. For instance, it's entirely possible to separate the social safety net and social security. Social security also don't necessarily have to be funded in a two way process (taxpayer to government, government back to taxpayer).
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Lazar » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:27 am UTC

I have yet to see a safety net provided by the market. Some people don't have money for education, work low-paying jobs, get laid off from those jobs, and are left to die of treatable illnesses.
Exit the vampires' castle.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:46 am UTC

Lazar wrote:I have yet to see a safety net provided by the market. Some people don't have money for education, work low-paying jobs, get laid off from those jobs, and are left to die of treatable illnesses.

Which I do not see how it is exactly relevant, since all developed countries (as far as I know) have tax-funded safety nets. The question is still "what constitutes as a solid social security net".
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Lazar » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:49 am UTC

In my mind, one which provides people with the equivalent of a living wage (i.e. enough to maintain them at the poverty line, including such necessities as health insurance) when they're unable to receive that from the market.

And anyway, we're drifting away from the topic of health insurance in particular. If you need somebody to convince you that the American health care system is a joke, I'd rather not bother.
Exit the vampires' castle.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:00 am UTC

Lazar wrote:In my mind, one which provides people with the equivalent of a living wage (i.e. enough to maintain them at the poverty line, including such necessities as health insurance) when they're unable to receive that from the market.

In my mind, it needs to be more comprehensive and regulated than that.
1) It should only provide the wage if one attempts to improve their situation (generally by seeking jobs, though re-education is also another possible factor). If re-education is sought, additional funds may be required.
2) It should be monitored to limit spending to only/mostly necessities. (the method however is sometimes questionable)
3) It should only be provided if other forms of security is not available (e.g. personal savings, extra commodities)
Among other factors.
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

Spambot5546
Posts: 1466
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:34 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Spambot5546 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:06 am UTC

1 doesn't necessarily work if we're talking about someone with a family. It's one thing to tell a guy "The gummint's been paying you to sit on your ass and eat cheetos for long enough, either start looking at jobs or starve" it's quite another to say "sorry little Timmy, you can't eat because your douchenozzle parents can't be arsed to look for employment."

It's better to structure it in such a way that it encourages people to seek employment, for example by paying people an hourly wage for job-hunting or by offering training in some manner of trade when finding work as an unskilled laborer becomes difficult. Perhaps subsidizing employers who hire unskilled people, so that they can obtain skills and become hire-able. As Habitat for Humanity says, "A hand up, not a hand-out."
"It is bitter – bitter", he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Vaniver » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:17 am UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:A problem suspiciously unique to the US.
It's because the US system is fancy.

Seriously, that's it. Quality of care delivered is higher in the US, but we pay out the nose for those tiny improvements.* We already routinely get ranked for best preventative care in the world- but that increases costs overall. We tend to have the widest adoption of new gadgets (once the FDA approves them), and those tend to be expensive.

Say what you will about whether or not there should be the few percentage points that go to profit, but it should be repeated that it's only a few percentage points. Eliminating the profit from the system will not make our system as cheap as European systems: that's only possible with a decline in quality.**

*Actually, it seems to be the case that health outcomes are roughly independent of the amount of money thrown at them- for most things, modifying the patient's lifestyle is more effective than treatment. But the system doesn't get paid when you exercise, and does get paid when you take pills or get your fat cut out of you. A system forced to work on the cheap could come up with clever, effective solutions that a system with the wrong incentives doesn't.

**This isn't strictly true: you could have a technological improvement that only affects the US system, or there might be enough policy and procedural changes you can do to make the US system cheaper. Consider a half example: we could get rid of or severely limit malpractice liability, which would both get rid of the payouts to the sufferers of accidents and negligence (paid for by everyone thanks to insurance instead of just the sued doctors***) and the massive costs of defensive medicine. I call this a half example because 'quality' would go down- people would probably be just as healthy, but wouldn't have the peace of mind / payouts to compensate for their suffering.

***Fun stories from studies: quantity of accidents is pretty much unrelated to number of malpractice lawsuits; the tone the doctor uses is enough to predict their malpractice cases with good accuracy. People only sue doctors they don't like, even if that wasn't the doctor that made the mistake.

elasto wrote:Healthcare, like road building, the military etc is too important to be paid for by the private sector. It can't possibly be done equitably. It needs to be done through taxation to pool the risk and share the cost fairly.
Emphasis mine: that word is a sticking point. Wanting something isn't deserving it.

Lazar wrote:I have yet to see a safety net provided by the market. Some people don't have money for education, work low-paying jobs, get laid off from those jobs, and are left to die of treatable illnesses.
The market provides both insurance and charity. But you are right that the fundamental activity of a market is trade, which requires each person have something of value to add (noting that beggars provide a service that has a supply and demand like other services).

Lazar wrote:In my mind, one which provides people with the equivalent of a living wage (i.e. enough to maintain them at the poverty line, including such necessities as health insurance) when they're unable to receive that from the market.
Living wage and poverty line are both very ill-defined amounts, and if you include health insurance then we're got unlimited exposure. If we say "ok, normal people should be able to live on $12,000 uncomfortably, let's give everyone $12,000 a year paid out of taxes on income" that will only take care of normal people. People's medical costs can go into the millions- and so we have to answer the tough question of "should only the people who put aside money use to treat expensive conditions get their expensive condition treated?" For most of history, the answer has been yes. If we try to make the answer "yes" in America now, we have to give up other things to do that- and it's not clear to me those other things are worse than this. If you had to choose between universal health care and fighting climate change, for example, which would you rather have? And that's a real choice, since the money is coming from the same place.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:17 am UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:1 doesn't necessarily work if we're talking about someone with a family. It's one thing to tell a guy "The gummint's been paying you to sit on your ass and eat cheetos for long enough, either start looking at jobs or starve" it's quite another to say "sorry little Timmy, you can't eat because your douchenozzle parents can't be arsed to look for employment."

It's better to structure it in such a way that it encourages people to seek employment, for example by paying people an hourly wage for job-hunting or by offering training in some manner of trade when finding work as an unskilled laborer becomes difficult. Perhaps subsidizing employers who hire unskilled people, so that they can obtain skills and become hire-able. As Habitat for Humanity says, "A hand up, not a hand-out."

If they aren't arsed to work to look for children, they get their children taken away. Additional issues regarding children hay require more drastic measures ala China 1 Child policy.

And your structure for all intents and purposes meets point 1 anyway, just in a different phrasing.
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9928
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:08 am UTC

Rather than take the time to examine an extremely complex problem, and come up with a reasoned and practical solution, I'm just going to blame the lawyers.

But seriously, as an Actuary (well, in training), I can assure you that people like me do all sorts of cost-benefit analysis before making such a massive decision as this. The actuaries at these companies looked at the numbers, and determined that there was literally no way to so much as break even with the rules as is, and that the expenses from salvaging the parts of the company that deal with child-only plans were less than what these plans would cost.

Yes, it sounds heartless, but having your insurance company go bankrupt is WORSE than having no insurance; in the case of no insurance, you get nothing for paying nothing, while with the bankrupt insurance company, you get nothing for paying a fortune. That is why the government 'invested' more than most countries' net worth into AIG.

Just remember, whenever the government proposes a new tax or new regulation, YOU pay for it in some way or another. Only support taxes/laws that you get more back than what you put in. E.G., infrastructure, emergency services, and education are good things to raise taxes for. Healthcare is too, but only if it is used to actually improve and/or save lives, and not just stave off death.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26413
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:46 pm UTC

Kyrn wrote:Technically, most developed countries aren't doing very well, considering the recent rash of economic crisis. :p
Those economic crises that had fuck-all to do with healthcare, you mean?

CorruptUser wrote:The actuaries at these companies looked at the numbers, and determined that there was literally no way to so much as break even
Why do you think that? These are for-profit companies, after all. Merely breaking even wouldn't be good enough, so they'd quite possibly reject something even if it was cost-neutral.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Levelheaded
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Levelheaded » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Just remember, whenever the government proposes a new tax or new regulation, YOU pay for it in some way or another. Only support taxes/laws that you get more back than what you put in. E.G., infrastructure, emergency services, and education are good things to raise taxes for. Healthcare is too, but only if it is used to actually improve and/or save lives, and not just stave off death.


As long as living is given a higher value than dying (a given in most cases), staving off death IS improving lives. I'm not opposed to DNR orders, or even the option of doctor assisted euthanasia (assuming no reasonable alternative treatments and the patient is making the decision), but most people - even sick people - highly value living.

But anyway...the biggest thing about the whole 'oh noes, higher taxes for healthcare' is that we already spend that money. I don't care if my employer & I are paying Aetna, the US Government, or my doctor directly. If the money is paid in taxes instead of insurance premiums, I don't care. As long as I get the care I need, it's all the same to me.

I have the same loyalty to any insurance provider that they have for me (none). If they get screwed to my benefit, I'm not going to lose sleep over it because they have happily done the same to me and would readily do it again.

johnny_7713
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby johnny_7713 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Yes, it sounds heartless, but having your insurance company go bankrupt is WORSE than having no insurance; in the case of no insurance, you get nothing for paying nothing, while with the bankrupt insurance company, you get nothing for paying a fortune. That is why the government 'invested' more than most countries' net worth into AIG.


In the Netherlands health insurance is provided by for profit or 'break-even' health insurance companies and as far as I know children up to the age of 18 are included in your policy for free. This has so far not resulted in the bankruptcy of any health insurer.
Though to be fair I'm not sure how much tax money gets pumped into the system in addition to the insurance premiums (typically €100 / month) in comparison to the US.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26413
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:37 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:only if it is used to actually improve and/or save lives, and not just stave off death.
Um... how is saving lives any different from staving off death? Isn't it true that every time you save a life, all you really do is stave off death?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6258
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby sardia » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:49 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:only if it is used to actually improve and/or save lives, and not just stave off death.
Um... how is saving lives any different from staving off death? Isn't it true that every time you save a life, all you really do is stave off death?

He could be talking about people being rushed to emergency rooms to get care instead of getting early treatment/prevention decades earlier. If he is, this issue was one of the things the new health care law was designed to mitigate.

User avatar
mmmcannibalism
Posts: 2150
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:only if it is used to actually improve and/or save lives, and not just stave off death.
Um... how is saving lives any different from staving off death? Isn't it true that every time you save a life, all you really do is stave off death?


I think he may mean things like the amount of health care costs that are for patients who will die in a week or two anyway.
Izawwlgood wrote:I for one would happily live on an island as a fuzzy seal-human.

Oregonaut wrote:Damn fetuses and their terroist plots.

Seraph
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Seraph » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:18 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The actuaries at these companies looked at the numbers, and determined that there was literally no way to so much as break even
Why do you think that? These are for-profit companies, after all. Merely breaking even wouldn't be good enough, so they'd quite possibly reject something even if it was cost-neutral.

I don't agree with "Merely breaking even wouldn't be good enough". Insurance in general is an extremely low margin buisness, the typical health insurance company makes about 0.03 cents of profit for every dollar of premiums. They make their money by leveraging their assets, from the trivial (eg. interest made on money between receiving a bill and paying it) to the complex (really complicated investment schemes). Breaking even on a premiums=expenses basis is often good enough because it adds to the assets of the company. Heck, my car insurance company used to pay out 102% of what it took in as premiums, but still managed to turn a profit in the end using creative accounting schemes (ie. they made money by losing money). When your taking in tens of billions of dollars a year even float becomes a non-trivial income source.

elasto
Posts: 3481
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Living wage and poverty line are both very ill-defined amounts, and if you include health insurance then we're got unlimited exposure.


Yes, I suppose it's unlimited exposure in theory - I mean, in theory, everyone could suddenly get cancer at once - but that could happen in a private healthcare system too. In practice what would happen then is that all the private insurers would declare bankruptcy and the state would have to step in to fund everyone's cancer treatment anyway. It's like the banking system: The healthcare system is too important to fail - and wouldn't be allowed to.

In practice, though, comparing the UK with the US, say, it can be seen that a decent standard of healthcare can be provided just as cheaply per head of population publicly as privately. And, in my opinion, more equitably too.

Kyrn
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:55 pm UTC
Location: The Internet

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby Kyrn » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:47 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Kyrn wrote:Technically, most developed countries aren't doing very well, considering the recent rash of economic crisis. :p
Those economic crises that had fuck-all to do with healthcare, you mean?


Economics isn't that simple. Social healthcare is funded by government funds. Government funds are funded by businesses via taxes. The current economic crisis is due to market correction of business excesses, which previously indirectly lead to an increase of Government funds via taxes, and hence funds for healthcare.
I am NOT a snake.

Opinions discussed are not necessarily the opinions of the people discussing them.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9928
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:00 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:only if it is used to actually improve and/or save lives, and not just stave off death.
Um... how is saving lives any different from staving off death? Isn't it true that every time you save a life, all you really do is stave off death?


Saving a life means returning to health. Staving off death means just preventing death.

For example, a kidney transplant saves your life, and with the anti-rejection drugs, you can return to being a productive member of society, hopefully. Being on dialysis, where you are bedridden, and unable to produce, merely staves off death.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26413
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:20 am UTC

A fair amount of dialysis can actually be done just at night, actually, but I get your point: death panels all the way.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9928
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:34 am UTC

The point I was trying to make was that saving a life meant a bit more than keeping someone in a hospital bed or nursing home for the rest of their life.

We already have the "death panels"; you can not be on the organ transplant waiting list above a certain age in the US. I believe the age is 65, but I'm not certain.

I'm not trying to advocate death panels, but if the resources are limited they should be spent where they will do the most 'good'. It would be nice if you could treat everyone, but if you have to choose between treating the 80 year old and treating the 8 year old, treat the 8 year old.

Consider this scenario. You are a fireman (or woman or whatever) inside a burning house. The house is about to collapse. You have two rooms in front of you, and only time to rescue the people in a single room. The first room has a baby. The second room has two grandparents. You can either save the baby, or both grandparents, but not all three. Which do you save?
Last edited by CorruptUser on Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:40 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26413
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:39 am UTC

Seraph wrote:I don't agree with "Merely breaking even wouldn't be good enough". Insurance in general is an extremely low margin buisness, the typical health insurance company makes about 0.03 cents of profit for every dollar of premiums. They make their money by leveraging their assets.
Except that when I said "breaking even", I meant, like, actually breaking even. Maybe CorruptUser was talking about something different, but I wasn't ignoring all the other ways companies make money, pretending like they operate in a world with no investment schemes or interest or inflation, where breaking even means taking exactly as many dollars in in premiums as are paid out in claims.

CorruptUser wrote:You can either save the baby, or both grandparents, but not all three. Which do you save?
Well to be honest it's pretty easy to make more babies...
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9928
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:45 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Except that when I said "breaking even", I meant, like, actually breaking even. Maybe CorruptUser was talking about something different, but I wasn't ignoring all the other ways companies make money, pretending like they operate in a world with no investment schemes or interest or inflation, where breaking even means taking exactly as many dollars in in premiums as are paid out in claims.


If a company is at the break even point, they are probably not going to dismantle the business in the short term. Especially during a recession when a 0% return is considered a good investment*. They probably won't open into a market they expect to only break even in, but the case we are talking about is health insurers leaving, not just refusing to open up. Long term is a different story, but only if they think they can get a better return on another form of investment.

gmalivuk wrote:Well to be honest it's pretty easy to make more babies...

And fun. The delivery of the final package, not so much.

*if the banks are giving you 1% interest, but inflation is 3%, you lose roughly 2% a year, so 0% return is much better than leaving your money in a bank. A fun oddity is that theoretically, if the average rate of return is rather negative, people will invest in things that actually have negative (but not as severely negative) rates of return. For a real-world example, remember in the 90s when foreigners, Russians in particular, were willing to hold onto dollar bills despite them being a 0% interest loan and depreciating from inflation? It was kind of the reason that the trade deficit could be so large.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6258
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:22 am UTC

Wait, are you ignoring that a 0% rate of return on an investment is still affected by inflation?

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9928
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:45 am UTC

Sorry, just that as an actuary (almost), when I think return I think real rate of return, and not nominal rate of return return. Real return is the value of what you get back, nominal return is just the number you get back. The break even point implies a 0% real rate of return.

For example, if your stock rises 10% this year, but inflation is 5%, your rate of return is 4.762% (1 - (1.1/1.05)). If inflation is 5%, you would need a 5% interest rate on your savings to have a real rate of return of 0%. Although, actuarily, your real rate of return is still negative in that case, because of all the costs involved of driving to the bank, time spent, etc.

User avatar
savanik
Posts: 345
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:10 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Health insurers drop children-only plans

Postby savanik » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:31 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Consider this scenario. You are a fireman (or woman or whatever) inside a burning house. The house is about to collapse. You have two rooms in front of you, and only time to rescue the people in a single room. The first room has a baby. The second room has two grandparents. You can either save the baby, or both grandparents, but not all three. Which do you save?


Whichever is safest. Barring that knowledge, whichever is closest. One of the primary rules in emergency services response is 'Do not take unreasonable risks and endanger yourself while rescuing another person.' If you do, odds are good that now there will be TWO people to rescue, endangering even MORE people. Firefighters don't have time in an emergency to ponder moral equivalencies, but judging safety of a situation is fairly second nature to them.

Until we develop ethical calculus and have a standardized basis for the right thing to do, there is no right answer to your question. Scenarios like this are useless for that reason.

For a particularly heart-wrenching example, watch the latest mini-series thingie of Torchwood. They trample ALL OVER this political minefield of utilitarianism, and the end of it basically leaves you with the point that there are no good answers. It's very well done.
"If it were up to the copyright lobby, owning a pen would be punishable by fines." ---Arancaytar


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests