Ken Melvin’s Thoughts on Health Insurance

Ken Melvin sends some comments:

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Last night, Howard Dean was asked on C-Span, ‘Why not universal health care?’, responded that it was impossible to do in one svelte move because of the power of the insurance lobby. He then went on to propose lowering Medicare eligibility to 55 and have all those under 30 included. We all know that Howard Dean is bright but this is especially good. His thinking went along these lines: Lowering the eligibility to 55 takes the strain off corporate America. And, as everyone knows, men over 50 finding themselves unemployed are up the proverbial creek without a paddle in part because insurance companies are telling employers not to hire anyone over 50. With insurance no longer a problem, men and women over fifty would have a better shot at reentry and society could utilize their experience. In re covering those under 30, it doesn’t cost anything to insure this particular group. Beautiful. It’s feasible, and it’s a great transitional first step toward universal coverage. Of course, he may not have said this exactly, but it was all there.

All this brought to mind the fact that no one in America other those on Medicare, VA, or retired Congress members/civil servants really has health insurance. Lose your job – lose health insurance. Have your own coverage and get sick, lose your health insurance. Self-employed with your own coverage and your child has needed surgery, lose your health insurance. Life insurance is much the same, e.g., if you have a term policy for 40 years and miss a payment you are no linger insured and the carrier sticks the policy money in their pocket; a good part of the beauty of Social Security is that it always there. Shouldn’t it be that all your payments to health care insurers, to life insurers is there in reserve so that if bad luck befalls you still have some coverage, some life insurance?

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The above was by reader Ken Melvin. I’d just like to add a few thoughts myself. The Ex-GF and I pay for our health insurance. Its a lot. Earlier this year, when we got married, we switched the Ex-GF from her old health insurance policy to Kaiser, the company with which I have a policy. Because of horror stories about what could happen if one gets sick in the first few months after switching to new insurance (i.e., having one’s insurance canceled for not reporting a pre-existing condition, even one that one doesn’t know one has), we maintained two overlapping insurance policies for the Ex-GF for a few months. I can’t believe anyone in America can think of a system like this as anything remotely efficient.