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Last night I had a dinnertime conversation with a lady whose adult son has ankylosing spondylitis.  She had managed to keep him continuously insured, though it wasn't easy.  His insurance (grudgingly) pays for an expensive medicine that will help prevent him from becoming a physical wreck by his late thirties.  The discussion helped me imagine a mind-opening conversation with someone who might complain, "I'm paying a lot in health insurance premiums, and getting almost nothing back."
My reply would start with the title, above.  I'd continue, "If you had a treatable cancer and were on chemotherapy, you'd be getting a great return on your health insurance -- at least in dollar terms.  The same if you had rheumatoid arthritis (or ankylosing spondylitis, a similar disease treated with similar drugs).  The 'payoff' wouldn't be as fast as if you had cancer, but it would go on for years and years.  The same would apply if you develop diabetes."

Health insurance is something you should hope to pay for and not use much.  Hope for many years of preventive medical checkups with thoroughly boring results.  Hope that the money you put into the system pays for treating somebody else's lupus or ulcerative colitis or heart disease.  If you aren't 'getting your money's worth, don't feel gypped.  Feel blessed.  Give thanks that God, the Fates, or whatever gods there be, have taken nothing more from you than some money.  Remember, they've taken other people's health and even their lives before their time.  And as long as we have a requirement to all buy health insurance, give thanks for that, too.  It means you can do your share to subsidize the health care of those whom the Fates have been less kind to, without having to shoulder more than your fair share of the burden.  And gee, maybe some day the government will just insure all of us against disease (like it already insures us against foreign invaders) and tax us fairly to pay for it.

And don't forget, some day your turn will come.  The death rate is one per person.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Tend To Agree With You (12+ / 0-)

    I have had insurance from when I was in the womb until now, and I am 43. I am blessed with amazing health. I literally have had amazing insurance, the best of the best, and never needed it. I mean almost never and only for like a cold or some stitches.

    Oh wait, the above isn't entirely true. I didn't have health insurance for about 45 days. Lost my job in the dot com thing. Kept my insurance through COBRA. Then didn't have it for a few weeks as I went to an individual plan I bought through Fortis (don't Google them, they suck!).

    It just so happened during that time I caught like a one in 10,000,000 bug. Cut from ear to ear and in the ICU with a tube down my throat for a week.

    Now clearly I am VERY happy I am alive, cause I could have died. But more than $47,000 in bills I had to pay. Well not really, my parents have some financial means and they paid the bills, otherwise I would have lost everything and not sure I'd ever have recovered.

    I can't tell you how many hours I've thought about all the money I paid into those plans, that I NEVER used (again I am thankful for that), yet when I needed help, well there was nobody but my parents there for me.

    Rant ended ...

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:35:12 PM PDT

  •  This is what you get (13+ / 0-)

    when you get conned into thinking about your health, your healthcare, or healthcare related services and expenses, like you think about buying a car or an iPod.

    Healthcare "products".

    Bang for my buck-ism.

    Nobody wants 'bang for their buck' if they really think about it.

    You don't want cancer. Diabetes. A carcrash that crushes your spine and severs your spinal cord between the shoulder blades.

    And no policy or doctor can guarantee that you will survive getting cancer no matter how expensive the policy, private hospital, or doctor is.

    So much of Movement Conservatism and Unregulated Capitalism-ism feeds on other bits of not thinking in your best interests once that earworm is in your head.

    People with start to resent others with less because of this 'everything is a product, everything should be profitable/pay off, everything should be run like a business' stuff. People start to think of it as noble to screw over others who are less fortunate to bolster their bottom lines.

    Your health is not a product. You aren't Mario in Donkey Kong with two more back-up Marios to spare if the first one dies.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:40:14 PM PDT

  •  Excellent observation (9+ / 0-)

    I have said the same many times about my auto insurance. I pay in a hefty sum every 6 months and at best I get a birthday card once a year from my agent. Nevertheless, I do not want to have any help from my agent beyond that. If I do it means something unpleasant - from mild to disastrous - has happened to my car, to me, or to someone else because of my car (or me).

    " can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:41:25 PM PDT

    •  My own adult son, speaking of car insurance, (5+ / 0-)

      has gotten our money's worth out of our car insurance, and praise G_d, with nothing worse than a knee that was sore a few days.  He's been run into three times -- never his fault -- and had three vehicles 'totaled out from under him'.  They may not track down whoever was towing the truck that broke loose and hit him three weeks ago, so our own insurance may be out what they've paid for the latest accident.  

      We probably should have gotten a tank for his latest car, but I hate to think what bad mileage they get.

      I rather like the way cars these days take almost all the damage in many accidents.  It's common to total the car with nothing worse than an airbag headache.

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:17:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Insurance is the one instance (9+ / 0-)

    Where you're betting something bad will happen to you, and you hope you're wasting your money.

    We're ALL better off when we're ALL better off!

    by susanWAstate on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 01:50:48 PM PDT

    •  Not exactly (4+ / 0-)

      Insurance is many people taking a small loss (the premium payment) so no one takes a large loss.  It is not a bet.

      The simple definition above helps explain why there must be a mandate for everyone to have medical insurance so we can cover those of us with pre-existing conditions.  Medical insurance cannot cover only sick people no more than you could expect to sign up for fire insurance after your house is ablaze.

      A friends daughter has ankylosing spondylitis.  They live in the U.K. And their taxes pay for their National Health Service.  A friend of a friend, and my wife, have rheumatoid arthritis.  The friend of a friend is in the U.K. And gets his $20,000+ a year meds from the National Health Service.  My wife gets her meds through my union medical plan which is superior to any commercial plan in my state.

      We in the U.S. can do better even than Obamacare.

  •  My work-related insurance (5+ / 0-)

    picked up the tab when a case of bronchitis and a couple of clueless doctors once generated a quarter of a million dollars in billing. (It did cost me half a lung, so this wasn't like winning a lottery or anything.) Now I am concerned that in retirement,  Medicare will be more costly and less comprehensive.

  •  As someone who had... (4+ / 0-)

    a decade of "getting my money's worth" in my 30s-- pacemaker, rounds of blood clots and one very scary internal bleeding incident, I totally agree.

    I love that the past couple of years that all the "value" I got out of my insurance premium was an annual "girlie" check up and quarterly pacer checks...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 02:54:30 PM PDT

  •  How true it is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209, Calamity Jean

    The only time in my life that I made extensive use of my insurance was after a near-fatal motorcycle accident 30 years ago. I required several surgeries and a long hospital stay. My treatment was excellent, and I made a full recovery, but it sucked.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:20:31 PM PDT

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