26 September 2013

Category Creep

Right now there are two categories for health insurance: smoking and non-smoking. That has been the major lifestyle choice that interested the actuaries of health insurance providers for decades. 

Now that .gov is taking an even bigger stake in health insurance, and medical care generally, than ever before, watch for that to expand!
Yesterday, you may have belonged to a non-smoking classification. You had a certain premium that you paid.
Tomorrow, you could be part of the non-smoking, meat eating classification. There will be a new premium for that. No doubt a higher one.
Do you like to ride motorcycles? Maybe you're in the Motorcycle riding, beer drinking, smoking class. You'll have an even higher premium!

The list could go on forever, and it probably will. Why? Because when .gov assumes a financial interest in health care, and seeks to lower your individual impact on the system as the system increasingly changes to exist for its own sake, it will take an increasingly aggressive role in managing your life and lifestyle.

High premiums are the weapon they will use to discourage behavior they deem "unhealthy." That may at times pertain to things that truly are unhealthy, but more often it will probably be whatever some .gov type just personally doesn't like.

They can't mandate a higher premium just for you and your particular pleasures. Obozocare incorporates one of the most awful ideas ever heard of in insurance: community rating. That's where they set premiums based on "your community," charging everyone the same based on how much medical services are being consumed in a given area (basically, whatever healthy, responsible decisions you make for yourself that might otherwise earn you a lower insurance premium will be negated by the crack heads that live near you).

The way around that is to just come up with new categories to put you into. 

Don't think it could happen this way?
Have a look at the taxes on cigarettes and booze, and in particular why some keep clamoring for them to be even higher than they are now. The precedent was set a long time ago for using .gov enforced disincentives to certain behaviors. Your hobby is next.

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