8.11.2008

Cancer Insurance? These Jokers are Serious!

(With all due respect to cancer patients and their families and friends, this blog post has NOTHING to do with the disease or the caretakers or the doctors or hospitals. Like many, many other health concerns, cancer is a serious a grave issue - not to be taken lightly. The focal point of this blog is the economics of insurance and overall health care)

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Where I come from, when you say something stupid, you'll get talked about - more like embarrassed - for years or even decades to come. Just ask my sister. She made a mathematical error while keeping score in a spades game (we take our card games very seriously) 14 years ago and she's been paying the price ever since. Now she's a teacher - a math teacher - so she gets ribbed ever more.



The stupid saying this week comes from none other than Mutual of Omaha Insurance - you know, the company that sponsors "Wild Kingdom". They sent me a letter that says "Application for Cancer Insurance". It's not even a sales pitch, just an application, that presumes I need or want cancer insurance. The price is reasonable $12/mon for a family, although it doesn't say if it is for a family of 5 or a family of a 100, but that's not the point.



What's so stupid about this? Well, let me count the ways..



1) I can't afford regular insurance for ailments I know I already got! What makes Mutual of Omaha think I want to pay them for something I don't have yet?


2) Even if I did pony up $12/mon for my family to get "cancer insurance", what kind of solicitation would I get next month? Luekemia insurance? Alzheimer's insurance? Or how about in-grown toenail insurance? Why not? To them it would make sense to break down this ridiculous $600/mon insurance I pay for a family into components that way I can pay more money to more companies but make it look like I'm paying less.


3) I'd really like to know where they got my name from. My family tree has very few incidents of cancer (maybe 2, one of which was by marriage), so it would be most beneficial to Mutual of Omaha of me to buy this insurance when it is very likely they would never have to pay a claim. Shrewd marketing - if I were dumb enough to buy it.


4) If I buy Cancer Insurance, what is my regular insurance for then? I understand supplemental insurance, but even that is supposed be general. Why on earth would anyone place a bet on what ailment they might get?



Now that I got that off my chest, I will say this - I didn't read this 5 page application. If I had cancer, or thought I might get it, then this would be heaven sent - I think. But I highly doubt this company can make any money if I started paying $12 premiums today and turned in $12,000 claims tomorrow. As emotional as health care and health insurance is, we have to remember these companies are in business to make money. They are not, will not, and shall not accept charity. That's why companies are all too willing to provide podiatry insurance for a Gulf War veteran who lost both feet in an IED attack. But will refuse to pay for a life saving operation with only a 30% chance of success for a young lady in the prime of her life.



SOLUTIONS
* As much as I hate to say it, the only solutions that I have found in other parts of the world are of a socialists variety. The government in some form or fashion provides the service, caps the costs, or pays the costs. For the US, I think that means a goverment FUNDED health care - but with some serious rules applied. I'll explain those later, but for now suffice it to say that if you want health care costs to keep rising then it must remain in corporate hands. If you want health care costs to come down, then we need someone OTHER than Corporate America in control.

More details on that on my next blog. Until then...

Peace, and Mo' Grease!

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