Health Insurance

Per Bloomberg:

Fewer than 100,000 people had such plans [Short-Term Medical Insurance] at the end of last year, according to state insurance regulators, but the Trump administration says that number will jump by 600,000 in 2019 as a result of the changes. Some brokers are taking advantage, selling plans so skimpy that they offer no meaningful coverage.

Ah yes, the illusion of giving people “choice”. You can choose to buy health care which is shit, and when you find out it’s shit, you have no one to blame but yourself. And maybe the people who said it was ok to sell it to you in the first place.

Show me a market-place where there are no information barriers, where everyone is capable of making informed choices, and where nearly everyone needs to participate in some way (such as health care, which is fairly important). I think of the stock market as one example, and people who save for retirement by investing in stock and bonds. The fees associated with mutual funds and ETFs are clearly disclosed in a prospectus and other financial statements which must always be available; but you have to know where to look. Barriers to information are turned to rubble by the efficient markets hypothesis – think of satellites looking at cars in parking lots to determine if JC Penny’s is having a good sales quarter. And yet, with all of this information very clearly, plainly available, people still make terrible investing choices. Because it is complicated.

I could hand you a comprehensive fee and billing schedule for any medical procedure you ever wanted, but if it’s 5,000 pages long and written in legalese – what good does that do you?

It’s ironic that medicine, of all places, has long held itself to the standard of “informed consent”. The patient has to understand, and if they don’t, you as a medical professional have an ethical responsibility to continue to try and make that person understand before moving forward.

It’s a shame hospital billing doesn’t work that way.

Giving people more and more information, more and more choice – that won’t solve these problems.

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