Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get in your car, pick a long, desolate stretch of highway, crush the accelerator to the floor and exceed the “suggested” speed limit. 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, as your speedometer covers numbers it’s never met before. Bliss, pure bliss, as your shaking foot settles down at 130 mph.
And when you start racking up the tickets and paying fines for your weekend jaunts to points far away, wouldn’t it be great if the infractions didn’t raise your auto insurance rates?
So, you blow a grand on some tickets. What fun it was. And worth every dollar you’ll no longer have to spend on your wife’s anniversary gift next year. So much fun, in fact, you tipped the officer when he gave you a ticket. “For the police officer’s retirement fund, Sir Kill My Fun.”
What if you decided red lights were optional and caused a three-car pile up on your way to Starbucks to get your pumpkin latte before you were late to work?
Your insurance company would inflict a world of hurt on your pocket-book by raising your rates to the moon, Alice, and back again. Perhaps even drop you for being an idiot, which would surely happen the second time you crashed your car while running late to your massage therapy appointment due to the first accident.
Now if auto insurance were like the health care industry, your rates wouldn’t go up for being reckless.
Isn’t that the way it is with medical insurance? You can drink and smoke in excess and gain a couple hundred pounds eating McGriddles but your rates stay the same.
Want to sniff a pile of blow Tony Montana would be proud of? Take a dozen coke-induced trips to the ER with your heart ready to explode like Alderaan blasted to smithereens by the Death Star? Be our guest, you’re covered by the company plan as long as you keep your job at the law firm billing 70 hours a week. And the cartel in South America thanks you for your patronage, Señor Deviated Septum, which was also covered, though you lied to your doctor and blamed it on a face-plant you took when you borrowed a neighborhood kid’s board to show off. Oops, my bad, Doc.
So, here’s my real question that took me an hour to get to: Would our health care system be busting at the waist if it were punitive like auto insurance?
Now I know the argument to this crazy idea because I shared it with my wife, who put the pin in my balloon by asking me how we’d measure what is considered healthy.
A minor obstacle, my dear wife, who had the misfortune of marrying me, King of the Pre-Existing Condition.
It’s a good question, but couldn’t we start with BMI? The higher your BMI over normal, the more you pay, except for conditions where the person couldn’t control it. But for the rest of us who fill our bellies with McDonald’s three times a day and think anything can be deep fried (dead or alive) and eaten, it’s going to cost us more in insurance premiums. (Damn the thin vegetarians who will be loving their cheap rates and stick-thin BMIs.)
And isn’t this really why medical costs are at a breaking point? What incentive do people have not to use it?
With auto insurance the incentive is losing your insurance or paying more if you’re reckless. Do you lose your medical insurance if you’re reckless with your eating habits or if you smoke a pack a day, which by the way should be Philip Morris brands if you do smoke, as baby needs some new shoes and our PM stock needs to keep going up, up, up.
Yes, radical ideas from an idiot, no doubt. But change doesn’t happen until you tap someone’s wallet or purse.
Perhaps we need to raise rates really high for everyone and follow the “discount for cash” plan some businesses do when you get money off for using cash instead of a credit card. If you take care of yourself and avoid fried McGriddles, which I would eat in a heartbeat if I could talk my girlfriends at McDonalds into tossing one in the deep fryer for me, you’d receive a big discount on your medical insurance. Do your best to stay healthy and you save money and live longer.
The question is . . . would someone be happier passing up their usual lunch of two Big Macs, large fries and super-sized coke for a salad and water? I know I wouldn’t, which makes me think this has all been one very stupid idea. Nevermind.