The NY Times Sunday magazine had an article on wealthy, healthy Americans who are
uninsurable. In their cases, it was apparently because of A) an excess of honesty on their part when attempting to get individual insurance, reporting picayune details like a brief bout of tooth-grinding, and B) an astounding zeal for disqualification on the part of insurers.
This is surprising. I first got health insurance when I was 27 or so, and the carrier was recommended to me by a professional acquaintance who is an insurance broker. This company jacked up my rates 10%, 20%, even 30% a year, with my paring back my coverage until a year or so ago, when I just couldn’t take it. I found a new carrier that covered me with no exclusions (much to my surprise) despite the accidents I’ve had in the past that could turn into complications in the future. So it’s all the more surprising that these people had so much trouble.
Lots of interesting facts in this story. I was somewhat surprised to learn that only 15 million Americans buy their own coverage (I’m one); that’s less than half as many who are completely uninsured. Meaning that nearly all Americans who are insured get their coverage through a group plan. Perhaps it’s not surprising after all: my own insurance is what I morbidly refer to as the “don’t get sick” plan, in other words, catastrophic coverage.
Some people say health care is a right. My own opinion is somewhat less bleeding-heart. I feel that everyone who has the means to get coverage is responsible for their own coverage, but that a civilized society will do right by those who can’t manage to get coverage on their own. In a very imperfect way, this is the way things work in the USA right now. But when people earning six figures can’t find coverage, perhaps something more fundamental is out of whack.