Overview Insurance

I remember a time when going to the doctor meant I paid the nurse $20, for everything; or, I could have them send you a bill in the mail, but they frowned on the extra costs. Since Richard Nixon recommended a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) system in 1973, nothing but change after change has led to now, when all of the presidential candidates are selling their plans to change everything one more time. None of them are suggesting the state seize all insurance company assets, prosecute the owners and shareholders, while deporting all the workers that have faithfully followed orders to tell the policy holders they are denied coverage. Some candidates now want to make it mandatory to have health insurance coverage, so that anyone without it would be breaking the law.

While my memory doesn’t go back to a time when automobiles (any moving vehicle) did not require insurance to be operated legally, I know people regularly broke the law by not having it back then. How else could the concept of “Uninsured Motorists” insurance come into being? In Georgia, where I learned to drive and drove for roughly 30 years, I always had to be insured; and, the last half of that time, if I did not have proof of insurance, I was breaking the law trying to get a vehicle tag, so I could legally drive.

As a youngster my mother had me on her insurance; and, even though my being in the highest claim probability claim category, raising her rates sky high, she paid the premiums for me. As a parent now, I return the favor to my children; but still, when I had an accident as a teen (and I had my share) I would always call the family friend, who was also our insurance agent. Almost every time he would say, “Well Bobby, you better pay for that one yourself, so a claim isn’t registered, raising your mother’s rates.”

What is the point of having insurance if you have to pay for something anyway? Seems clear to me that a copay or percentage paid, where “coverage” does not cover all, is plenty to cover all of the real costs. I doubt anyone could use anything more than mumbo-jumbo to show me how going to see a doctor for 10 minutes (not including the 1 hour wait) can justify anything more than $20, when all costs and profits are prorated. It all seems plainly to be a scam to me.

It has led me to adopt the philosophy that has me seeing insurance simply as this: It is betting to lose. Certainly that is not a rational thing to do. At least in a casino, where they regularly steal your money with a smile, they ask if you want to buy insurance, after you know the dealer has an ace showing. Either way you go you are going to lose something; but, knowing the odds of a face card under that ace makes buying insurance something only foolish bettors do. Insurance falls, in my mind, right in there with gambling.

Think about that concept for a moment. Would you put your car, life or house on a bet? I certainly hope you said, “No way!.”

The biggest thing most people own is their house. You get a major loan to buy one. They are charging you interest on the money of that loan. They expect you to pay the loan back; and, most people have budgeted so they can do that. They pay mortgage payments religiously; and, the banks have become very wealthy off the interest from loans, especially long-term home loans. But still, you basically cannot get a home loan without buying insurance, in case you die or lose your job or have an injury.

What about just buying life insurance or health insurance instead? Nope. You have to also have home owner’s insurance. Without it, you could lose your home. With it, you could still lose your home (Katrina, et al proves that) and lose all the money you paid to the insurance company too, by being denied coverage (small print said no Acts of God, remember?). Now some places are pushing for mandatory home owner insurances: flood, earthquake, you name it, or you can’t be approved for a home loan. That only keeps the riff-raff out of primo neighborhoods, because only the wealthy people can afford to do that.

Now life insurance is the most puzzling gamble to me, of all. As far as I know, we are all going to die, eventually. How can life be ensured? It can’t be; and, the difference between ensurance and insurance is big. One word means the state of being sure and certain of something, like assurance; the other means the state of being fleeced by a salesman, through the promotion of fear. One represents peace and calm, while the other makes you worry about, “What if?” So much so, you are willing to pay big bucks for nothing that is tangible.

Certainly, people can’t be thinking that having a middle-man bureaucratic system decreases the costs of anything. By it being there at all, it increases the costs of health care, auto care and safety, home assurance, as well as the costs of living a plain ole simple life. It is a luxury that most hard working Americans can’t really afford, under normal circumstances. In order to afford all of the insurance premiums we now face in our country, we have to demand higher wages. Higher wages are then passed on, becoming higher costs for goods and services, including insurance coverage for more expensive cars, homes and lives. It creates an endless spiral of inflation.

People have become so angered by all the costs that they go crazy at the slightest threat to the things they have come to love. Dent my car and I’ll sue you. Take a medicine you have side effects from, then sue the manufacturer. Trip over someone’s rug making a delivery, then sue for a sprained ankle, lost wages and all the mental damages from facing life without lawsuit jackpots. It all leads to seeking high payments, to cover the insurance costs and then pay an expensive lawyer. Everything keeps going higher and higher, with nothing but greed leading them. All because we accept insurance as something that needs to be mandated by our government!

It becomes a sign of mankind’s lost faith in God. Faith in God is free. A little faith-driven guilt was what caused the townspeople of the old prairie territories to load up the wagons with supplies and ride out to whoever’s farm, where the barn burned down the night before. Everyone got together and put up a new barn, with the costs being minimal. Pay it back as you can. No interest required, because it was known the family helped would help the next family, when need arose.

Back in those past times, when the doctor often took a chicken for coming in the middle of the night to treat a sick child’s fever, everyone knew the best ensurance was prayer and faith. The little treatment given cost pennies. It was roughly a hundred years later (1870 till 1970) when a chicken was replaced with a $20 bill. That is inflation I can live with. However, in the 38 years since then, $20 doesn’t buy much in a world run by insurance companies.