For those interested in the issue of health insurance policy rescissions, Slate also had a story yesterday, only with a lot more detail and links than mine (but without the clever comparison to financial services “innovation”).
Also, Taunter wrote an insightful post about rescission, expanding on a comment he left on this blog. He drives home a point I thought I made in my original post, but maybe wasn’t very clear: if 0.5% of policies get rescinded, that means that far more than 0.5% of insureds who really need insurance get their policies rescinded, because the insurers are targeting those policyholders who develop expensive illnesses. I said, “insurers only try to rescind policies if you turn out to need them; so the percentage of people who lose their policies when they need them is even higher.” Taunter puts numbers behind that, and they turn out to be potentially scary.
He also has a great analogy to underage gambling which I will reproduce here:
Years ago I was walking a casino floor with a casino executive. . . . [T]here we were in the middle of acres of blinking lights, with absolutely no one making sure that underage kids weren’t walking up to a slot machine. Indeed, they don’t card for the table games.
The executive told me you are free to play if you are underage, you just aren’t free to win. You can sit down and pump your money into the slots, and if you look presentable you can drop some chips on blackjack or craps. However, if you should happen to start winning, the pit boss or security team will come over and check your ID. The house edge is 100%.
By James Kwak