Tag Archives: University of North Carolina

The Nature Of Health Insurance

The nature of health insurance is to protect us against the risk of requiring medical care.  If we get hurt or sick, we have the mechanism of insurance to protect us.  Depending on our individual circumstances, we purchase different kinds of policies.  The very young may choose a simple plan that protects against only the most extreme costs.  Those of us who are more likely to require care may purchase a plan that accommodates those contingencies.

But it’s all about managing risk.

After the supreme court upheld Obamacare, we have moved from insurance protecting us from risk to insurance offering prepaid medical care.  When an “insurance plan” covers office visits, routine tests and other incidentals, we are nt paying someone to take the risk from us, we’re paying someone to give us medical care.

And what happens when that happens?

Raleigh, N.C. — The University of North Carolina system requires all students to have health insurance coverage, but the cost of a plan the system offers has more than doubled in two years.

The insurance requirement started in 2010, and about one-third of students on the system’s 16 university campuses buy their policy through UNC’s provider, New York-based insurer Chartis. The rest of the students have other coverage, usually through their parents.

The average cost of the Chartis policy started at $695 a year, but it rose to $847 last year. Tuition bills that are now arriving in student mailboxes for the 2012-13 school year include a $1,418 health insurance premium.

Why the rise in prices?  Greedy insurance companies?

Bruce Mallette, the UNC system’s vice president for academic and student affairs, blamed the increase on a high number of claims by students on the policy.

“It was a very affordable plan,” Mallette said. “If you look nationally, the pricing we had in the first two years was very, very competitive, and students utilized it and utilized it and utilized it.”


People demand value.  When they’re forced to buy something they don’t want, they’re gonna use it.  And by using it they raise the price.  The next guy, not wanting to be left behind, uses HIS policy.  It’s a spiral.

Consider a table of 10 people having dinner.  They agree to just “split the bill 10 ways.”  The first guy orders a BLT.  The second a steak, the third wants a bowl of chili but senses that he’s paying for the prior two guy’s high priced meal – so he too orders steak.  And so on.

Prices are going up folks, not down.


Health Care: United States Style

We’ve all heard it before.  The United States spends more in health care and receives less in return than any nation in the world.

Or some such nonsense.

But only in America are surgeries performed on minor wrist fractures within 24 hours that allows elite individuals to return to work:

Just 24 hours after suffering a fracture of his scaphoid bone, Kendall Marshall, point guard for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, was recovering from surgery and contemplating playing again.

I suspect that Mr. Marshall, and all of North Carolina, feels that this expenditure is a feature and not a bug of the medical care distribution system in the United States.  Further:

Andrew, a hand surgeon with Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic,  said Marshall’s method of treatment – surgery and the insertion of a self-tightening screw to fix the break – is a common course for athletes.

“As you tighten the screw, it compresses the fracture site together and gives it better stability,” he said.

Marshall’s wrist will be stable enough to play, Andrew said. Most patients wear a cast to immobilize the thumb. A hand therapist could make a soft plastic cast for Marshall, who could replace it with heavy tape to play.

We have it within our ability to call upon such amazing technology as this.  And yet we complain that we have access to such amazing technology as this.

There is no where in the world, in the history of the world, that has a better medical outcome than the United States.