Choosing Not To Be Insured


Was listening to the boys in Greensboro again yesterday.  Topic made its way to health insurance and the ongoing debate.  The same ol’ arguments on both sides were mentioned with the exception of two.

The first was the idea Brad threw out there that there aren’t folks who actually decide not to buy insurance.  I think he literally asked for someone to  provide data on that topic.  Who would literally make the choice not to buy insurance?

The second was mentioned by Britt.  And this is the one of pre-existing conditions, what they are and the stance people have on ’em.

First the first:  How Chooses NOT to buy health insurance?

Let’s start by asking how many uninsured people there are to begin with.  According the US Census Bureau there were 50,674,000 people uninsured in America in 2009.  That’s a lot of people.  How many of those folks make less than $25,000 and can’t, even if they wanted to, buy health insurance?

15,483,000

Fully 31% of the uninsured in America couldn’t buy insurance if they wanted to.  If you double the income of folks we say can’t afford it even if they wanted to, that is stretch it from $0.00 to %49,999, the total jumps an additional 15,278,000.  Or 30% more.

61% of Americans who were uninsured in 2009 made less than $50,000.  And we’ll say that’s the number at which you can’t afford insurance if you wanted to buy it.

A huge number, to be sure.  Very large.

However, it means that 39% of the uninsured made more than $50k.  In fact, 21% made more than $75,000.  Granted, 39% is less than 61%, but 39% of 15,483,000 is 19,913,000 people.  That’s more than 19 million people were uninsured because they made a CHOICE not to buy insurance.

Next the Second.

Britt mentioned the pre-existing condition.  And he mentioned it in one of the two contexts that I think get confused as we debate health care.

In mind my, those two contexts are as follows:

  1. You have a healthy uninsured man.  He breaks his arm.  He walks into an insurance office and asks for health insurance.  The insurance company notices the broken arm, a pre-existing condition, and agrees to insure him, but not for the arm.
  2. You have a healthy INSURED man.  He breaks his arm.  He walks into an insurance office and asks to file a claim.  After the claim has been filed, the insurance company investigates and finds out that 27 years ago the man had acne that he didn’t disclose.  The company denies his claim and drops his coverage.

The two examples above are VERY different.  And, if confused, cause a great amount of debate and disagreement.  When I say that I do not want to cover pre-existing conditions, I am referring to example #1 above.  I do not think that insurance companies should be forced to cover an injury or illness that has ALREADY occurred.

I am VERY MUCH in favor of forcing companies to cover the individual in the second example.  I do think that insurance companies are scummy when they did back and find evidence of acne, or a playground broken finger or chicken pox not disclosed and use that as a reason to drop coverage.

Maybe if we agreed to agree on which definition of pre-existing condition we’re talking about we might get closer to agreement?

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8 comments
  1. Henry said:

    I also wonder about folks that had a policy cancelled after an illness. Suppose we start with two unrelated yet insured people, Bob and Dave. They both have a heart attack and are both off work for 6 months. After 90 days both men exhausts their available sick bank days, so they both loose their employer funded health insurance. The first person,Bob, continues to pay the monthly premiums out of his own pocket, the second person, Dave, does not. The insurance cancels both policies.
    In Bob’s case, that was wrong of the insurance company, but I have little sympathy for Dave. When I hear stories about people loosing their coverage after getting sick I wonder are they “Bob” type people or are they “Dave” type people.

  2. pino said:

    In Bob’s case, that was wrong of the insurance company, but I have little sympathy for Dave.

    Yes, I agree.

    Canceling a policy because someone has gotten sick is wrong. Canceling because they don’t pay isn’t.

  3. Alan Scott said:

    I don’t know why we keep glossing over the real issue . Obama is forcing people to buy insurance for things they do not need . Mandated coverage for one size fits all conditions is the problem . I need coverage for catastrophic illnesses . Obama-Care forces you to buy coverages you don’t want .

    • pino said:

      Mandated coverage for one size fits all conditions is the problem . I need coverage for catastrophic illnesses .

      This is true.

      I don’t need insurance to cover normal doctor check-ups and minor bumps and bruises. I need it or the biggies.

      Imagine if we sold insurance for oil changes and spark plugs.

  4. Alan Scott said:

    pino,

    I don’t remember all of the facts, but when Democrats were putting together their witches brew named Obama-Care they were lobbied by every special interest group in health care. Each one wanted their product covered by insurance .

    • pino said:

      they were lobbied by every special interest group in health care. Each one wanted their product covered by insurance .

      Not only that, but special interest groups lobbied to pass the bill. Those same groups are now requesting exemptions from the bill. And then, THEN, they are lobbying to prevent repeal.

      Unreal.

  5. Henry said:

    Alan,
    No complaints, just a comment…
    You say that you “need coverage for catastrophic illnesses.” I also consider that to be a practical solution. Coverage for only the big stuff has always seemed to fit my healthy lifestyle and budget, but are you also suggesting that the national heath care legislation should require all of us to purchase at least catastrophic illnesses coverage? If you are, then are you not also pushing a special interest agenda? Mandating catastrophic illnesses coverage for all truly is the correct agenda to push, is we are going to push anything, but should we be pushing anything? I lean both ways on that subject. I believe that adults should step up and take responsibility for themselves, but I also know that many folks just will not do the right thing, so government may need to step up and do the “right” thing for them.

  6. Alan Scott said:

    Henry,

    I am not advocating forcing anyone to have catastrophic coverage . I am pointing out that any health care reform should not mandate coverages . Choice, choice , choice. If Obama wants to give citizens a choice then I will listen . I have always likened health insurance to car insurance . If you are like me and you drive junkers, full coverage is not economical.

    In health insurance, I should be able to buy just what I need. The problem is Obama the great, forces everyone to have certain coverages to subsidize other , smaller groups. He also did not address selling insurance across state lines.

    There should be high risk pools of high cost people that the government could subsidize . That way they would not drive up the cost of others and could still get coverage .

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