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Author: journey61 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 757857  
Subject: Re: Ah, the Joys of Socialized Medicine Date: 2/25/2006 1:13 AM
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I've been perusing the boards recently with a specific interest in health insurance strategies for those on COBRA, since I may consider a move to a new company that will not have a group health plan for a time. I used to work in the insurance field as an underwriter and agent for life and health and I'm looking over the current regulations regarding pre-existing conditions. Sure hasn't gotten better. Sad to say but my job hunt is now predicated on regulations involving health insurance from state to state. Health insurance regulations are causing a little family economic stagnation.

When I was an agent (over 10 years ago) I remember we had a couple of issues come up with preexisting conditions. One was a woman who was declined for health insurance for lupus. She had bursitis from tennis in her arm. Ortho ran a blood test that came back positive for an antibody. This idiot writes on her records, “Test positive for Lupus-refer to arthritis specialist.” The specialist then runs more tests and finds it was a false positive, says stop playing so much tennis. The woman was now considered uninsurable by all of the companies we brokered and the information was registered with the MIB. Another instance we had was a woman who had two mammograms done. MD thought he saw something, wanted another test done, ended up being nothing. We did find a company to insure her but it was at a rated premium and most of the other carriers declined.

Finally, I read about a legal case when I was studying for a CLU exam-couple gets a pre-natal test for Downs and tests come back positive. The insurance company, saying that the condition is preexisting for the fetus, gives the woman the choice of having an abortion (paid for) for having the baby with no insurance. The couple threatened to go public and it was settled out of court.

I would opine that advancing genetic technologies will make our traditional free-market health plans obsolete. In insurance, a certain risk is uninsurable. When someone's complete genetic history and risk is known, how can insurance be sold?

Having upper middle class people go bankrupt when they loose health insurance from a layoff (and can't get other coverage) is not the way to manage our public policy. I agree that some contractural obligations exist-but much of the economic stagnation in the European countries is caused by depopulation, not healthcare. Declining family size, coupled with fixed government pensions and healthcare for life with an aging population is certain disaster, here and abroad.
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