Basic High School Math Fail

Again, I’m reading a bunch of stuff for an upcoming post and I see this:

Lucia Harkenreader’s check landed in her mailbox last week: a rebate of $456.15 from her health insurance company, with a letter dryly explaining that the money came courtesy of the federal health care law.

For Ms. Harkenreader, 53, who is putting a son through college, the rebate helps soothe the frustration she feels toward her insurer, Golden Rule, which is owned by UnitedHealthcare.

“It seems like the health insurance companies really just don’t have any consideration for the cost out here,” said Ms. Harkenreader, who pays about $480 a month for a high-deductible plan, up from $400 last year. “What costs have gone up to justify that rise in premium? I’d love to know. Did you give your people a raise? I guess your light bill went up?”

How is it possible that she can ask “What costs have gone up?” as she clutches a $456.00 check?  How can she ask “What costs have gone up?” as insurance companies are required to “insure” people who knock on the door with a broken arm?

People wonder why this country is in trouble.

11 responses to “Basic High School Math Fail

  1. That’s why we need more government regulation and support – like other countries. The market leads to great health care for the wealthy, poor options for the lower and middle class.

    (PS – I’ve been trying to post on the “Art of Politics” with no luck – it never shows up. Is there a glitch)

    • That’s why we need more government regulation and support – like other countries.

      The regulations that you support directly lead to higher costs. It makes it worse, not better.

  2. Pino, the rule that went into effect, as i understand it, requires a certain minimum percentage of premiums be used by insurance companies to fund actual insurance benefits. The money is being returned because the insurance company was pocketing premiums without using the money to fund benefits. It seems to me the woman interviewed has things exactly right and you’re the one who is misinformed.

    • Yeah, the refunds come when the insurance companies overcharge you. If you hired a contractor who consistently asked for too much up front and had to refund money at the end of every project, but kept asking for more and more money upfront each time, you’d think he was a pretty bad businessman.

      • Yeah, the refunds come when the insurance companies overcharge you.

        I don’t think that’s exactly right. Overcharging is when the lanscaper says he’s gonna charge you $40 an hour, works 5 hours and charges you $250.00.

        Here, she is being charged exactly what she and the insurance company agreed on. Obama and the democrats simply have a different view of voluntary contracts than many of us do.

    • Pino, the rule that went into effect, as i understand it, requires a certain minimum percentage of premiums be used by insurance companies to fund actual insurance benefits.

      Correct.

      The money is being returned because the insurance company was pocketing premiums without using the money to fund benefits.

      Yes. The company is breaking the rule imposed by the government regulators.

      It seems to me the woman interviewed has things exactly right and you’re the one who is misinformed.

      When you consider that these insurance companies are being required to “insure” people who come into the office with a broken arm, do you think policies are going up or going down?

      And when companies are forced to refund money at government decree, do you think that premiums are going to go up or down for those individuals who are likely to receive more than the 80% ratio?

      In other words, the companies will get very good at charging people enough money to meet the 80% rule. And for those people at risk of of significant outlays, their premiums will go up.

  3. For, say, car insurance it makes sense that the safest drivers (either by their own record or statistically) pay more. Driving is not fundamental to life, it’s not as basic as health care. When insurance companies do the same for premiums, some people pay a lot less, while others are denied insurance, go bankrupt, do not get care, or overstrain ERs. It would be overall more rational to have everyone insured and sharing the costs — that would also make it easier to control costs, avoid using the ER for care a PA could provide, and assure that everyone gets health care. Most countries (i.e., all advanced industrialized countries but one) want basic health care as a right for all – no one should be denied it or run into bankruptcy for it.

    • For, say, car insurance it makes sense that the safest drivers (either by their own record or statistically) pay more.

      I think you mean less.

      When insurance companies do the same for premiums, some people pay a lot less, while others are denied insurance, go bankrupt, do not get care, or overstrain ERs.

      Yes.

      It would be overall more rational to have everyone insured and sharing the costs

      If human beings were such angels, we would do this on our own. But we’re not. So, in lieu of trying to convince people to act better, you are actively supporting tyranny in the form of government to impose your version of charity.

      I totally understand. I get the fact that we as people OUGHT to help out other people. But I also get that the government ought NOT coerce that same behavior.

      You want government to force good behavior. Behavior that I happen to think is noble. I just wish you would acknowledge the fact that you are using government to restrict liberty.

      Most countries (i.e., all advanced industrialized countries but one) want basic health care as a right for all – no one should be denied it or run into bankruptcy for it.

      Nothing can be a “basic right” that requires the coercion of another man to deliver it. The right of free speech requires nothing from anyone else. But the “right” to healthcare means someone has to administer the care. Or pay for someone else to administer the care.

      While I would still disagree with you, I could respect the debate more if you folks would at least acknowledge that you feel it’s okay for government to force property from one man in order to give it to another.

  4. Pino ,

    ” People wonder why this country is in trouble. ”

    I hope you are not insinuating that President Obama is committing a fraud or is lying about health care costs ? I for one believe in a free lunch . It is not the most expensive meal you will ever eat . President hope and change will take from those who have more and give it to me . All he asks for is my vote . Now if I can only get a photo ID .

    • I hope you are not insinuating that President Obama is committing a fraud or is lying about health care costs ?

      He’s either lying or he’s wrong. You can pick which is scarier.

  5. Pino ,

    Those of us who are engaged on both sides of this know what we know . The election will be decided by those who are not engaged yet . I’ve talked to some and found the one ray of hope Obama has of being reelected in this terrible economy . Many people have accepted the Obama economy as the new normal . They do not believe that Romney can do anything about the economy so they might as well go with the guy who is there .

    Mitt has got to sell himself and he has not done that . Under Carter things were pretty hopeless. Reagan convinced voters that he could turn it around and he did . Mitt has got to make the case for hope after President hope and change has killed it .

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