Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Insurance, or, I Like Pears.

Insurance makes sense in a lot of cases. It's cheaper to insure my car for years than to have one accident uninsured. Peace of mind is not a negligible benefit in itself; you sleep a lot easier at night when you know that even if things go pear-shaped, you're at least going to have some help picking up the pieces. Of pear. Mixing metaphors is fun, kids.

Of course, there are some gripes I do have with the way it's implemented. I remember hearing a story about a car insurance company which paid an analyst a large amount of money to refine their algorithms for determining premiums. The analyst came up with a solution that would be much more accurate in terms of reflecting the likelihood of having to pay out a claim, much fairer on drivers, and even cheaper in the long run. The company rejected it because it would require their sales staff to push a couple of extra buttons to set up a policy.

There is, however, one type of insurance I can't really understand: health insurance. I understand why it has to exist, given how useless the government healthcare system in this country is — more on this another day — but the way it's done baffles me. You can buy cover that will supposedly cover everything that happens in a hospital — but whoops, it won't cover your wisdom teeth operation because that's a dental procedure and it comes under extras. The cynic in me wonders if if you bought extras cover instead, they wouldn't cover your wisdom teeth operation because it's done in a hospital. You can buy a policy that will cover a pair of spectacles every year for the rest of your life, but won't fork out a cent to buy you laser corrective surgery — which will be just as permanent, much less annoying, and probably end up costing the insurance company half as much. If you change cover, your waiting period starts afresh — even if you were upgrading. You're paying more, and you can't even use the cover you were paying for to start with!

Also, I really don't like that you can't pick and choose. Most of the providers I've looked into offer the same three levels of cover, with very little difference between providers, and with no ability beyond this to choose what you want covered. What if you've had your vision corrected with lasers already? You neither want nor need optical cover, but if you want that extras cover you have to buy it. What if you've already had your wisdom teeth removed? They aren't going to grow back, but if you want other dental cover you have to buy the whole package. What if you're a sane, sensible person who trusts the doctors when they say that if Insert Natural Remedy Name Here actually worked, they'd be prescribing it? Sorry, you still have to pay for this other loony to have his acupuncture/water divination/snake oil therapy if you want your cover.

Forehead, meet palm. You're going to be spending a lot of time together.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still trying to decide whether to keep mine or get rid of it.