The Big Think

October 12, 2007

More Insurance

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:25 pm

So after getting our six-month health insurance BOGU rate increase, I wrote a letter to the insurance company just to let them know that their practices aren’t going unnoticed, and that there are real people at the other end of their decisions to raise rates by as much as 25% every six months.

I got a letter back from the VP of the company today. In it, he told me that my calculations were wrong (they’re not, I double checked. He was assuming an annual increase while I assumed the biannual increase that has been their practice the past two years). He also incorrectly noted that our insurance premiums are based on my age, and that the company had figured the premiums wrong. He said that they had an age that is one year younger for me than my actual age, so they were going to have to raise my rates again to compensate. The only problem with this was that the policy in question doesn’t cover me, it covers my wife who is…. wait for it… one year younger than me.

So here’s the Vice President of a major American health insurance company making a basic math mistake and failing to read the very plain details of a very clear policy. He then tries to answer a complaint about increasing premium prices by erroneously increasing the premium price.

How much does this guy get paid every year? I mean, not counting his really good company-sponsored health insurance.

His explanation for why rates are skyrocketing is that there are fewer people to pay the rates. Too many people have been dropping insurance coverage and relying on the fact that hospitals have to treat you if you’re injured. And these people have been dropping their coverage and throwing themselves on the mercy of the state why?

“because rates have become so high”.

Give this genius a promotion.

Look, I understand that we’re experiencing the steep part of a Malthusian cycle here. I know that insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, etc, all have to earn a buck to make a living. But the whole lot of them have become like rabid dogs picking over the last survivors of a once-strong herd (that’s us, the premium payers, to clarify the twisted metaphor). Once the few remaining individuals and companies decide to throw up their hands at the ridiculous health care costs, the system will well and truly break. I don’t know what the answer is, but surely getting people in positions of leadership at insurance companies who can see past next quarter’s income statement would be a good start.

Flash Portal

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 10:36 am

Oh, this is addictive.

Makerfaire

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 9:37 am

Next weekend is Makerfaire Austin. It’s a giant meetup celebrating DIY science projects, crafts, engineering, and general mad science. I’ve been planning on going (probably on saturday), and am really looking forward to it. Right now it’ll be a solo trip (my date for the day had family obligations he had to attend to). So I’m putting out a call for anyone who might want to go that day. Should be a lot of fun. Of course it’ll be a lot of fun. Where else do you get to see a giant booger picker powered by a human hamster wheel?:

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