Monday 29 May 2017

Richard Curran: People can't be left behind in the health insurers' race for profits

Some health insurers in the US offer people discounts if they do a certain amount of exercise each day – but what happens when you can’t reach the targets? Stock image
Some health insurers in the US offer people discounts if they do a certain amount of exercise each day – but what happens when you can’t reach the targets? Stock image
Richard Curran

Richard Curran

I remember the first time I saw an American newspaper advertisement for cheaper health insurance based on lifestyle. The ad asked the question: "Can you run a mile in eight minutes." If you could then, basically, you would get a discount on your health insurance premium.

I could run a mile in eight minutes. Yet, I felt the ad portrayed a crude and uncaring system of healthcare provision. Under that kind of system, how much would I have to pay when I could no longer run it in eight minutes?

For example, many of us feel we are reasonably decent drivers. We often wonder why we can't get a better deal on our motor insurance than some of those "crazy muppets" we encounter speeding recklessly around the place.

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