Insurance and Politics


A while back we had a poll on the site and it seems like the overwhelming majority of us insurance people were Republicans. There are a few libertarians like myself, but almost no one admitted to being a democrat.

I have been wondering about some of the factors that contribute to this. Of course, the fact that the Democrats talk so much about changes that would potentially affect our livelihood is a big one, but I am sure there are many other reasons as well.

Because I mostly sell group, I don't deal with this nearly as much as other agents, but we are consistently exposed to people with that victim/entitlement mentality. I know many agents who are very compassionate people and have liberalish tendencies, but when you keep seeing and talking to people who feel that they are owed insurance coverage to make up for their stupid mistakes, it grinds you down.

I am not talking about whether or not society has a burden to help a poor person who has brain cancer. However, maternity, lung cancer, diabetes (To a large degree) obesity and other issues directly attributable to their poor choices and actions are largely based on bad behavior and I get sick of people who feel that we owe them a fix. At the very least, show some cognizance and gratitude!

Anyone have other ideas about why our politics are what they are? Maybe we self-select before any of these issues come to pass?
We accept the fact that there are consequences for bad driving behavior and their should be. However, it's pretty easy for an auto insurance company to see that one person is guilty of DUI and someone else got their car stolen. You punish the DUI driver, not the guy who woke up one morning and his car was gone.

We'd like to think health is that cut and dry - you got diabetes because you're overweight that's your fault, you get breast cancer it's not. The problem is that it's not cut and dry. You can get lung cancer and have never smoked. You can be diabetic and not be overweight. Now we're seeing family history coming into play for HBP and cholesterol. We're also seeing genes playing a role in weight gain.

Maybe the direction we need to go is to reward people for healthy behavior. There could be incentives created for participating in wellness programs, losing weight and bettering your health situation.

I'm more reward driven then fear driven. I don't think people like hearing "if you don't do this all these bad things will happen to you." They'd rather hear "Ok, you're 240 pounds and a cholesterol count of 280. If you lose 20 pounds and get your cholesterol under 220 then you get "this" reward.

Employers are already starting wellness programs - some owners have gone to the extreme of not hiring anyone who smokes. But there is one thing for certain; any program created to give Americans "free" healthcare without either rewarding healthy behavior or punishing unhealthy behavior will be a complete disaster.
I had a guy the other day that would not work with me because my insurance company makes a profit. The fact that we don't give back to the policyholders more then they pay in premiums each year was his biggest issue. He ran an oil company, the sweet irony with that. Because of this his employees who wanted my products could not purchase them at the group rates and lose out on some products I can only sell in a group setting.
I think MD is a fantastic model for what can be done. Free market for people who are insurable and MHIP for people who aren't with very affordable premiums. Almost anyone qualifies: Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP)

Eligibility Requirements

You may be eligible for the Maryland Health Insurance Plan if you are a resident of Maryland and:
  • Have a qualifying medical condition
  • Have been denied insurance in the past six months for medical reasons
  • You are enrolled in, or have the opportunity to enroll in, individual health insurance that:
    • Limits, restricts or blocks your coverage for a specific medical condition
    • Has benefits similar to MHIP, but costs more because of your medical condition
  • You are a child who has a qualifying medical condition (A parent or guardian would submit the application on behalf of the child.)
  • You are switching from a high-risk pool in another state, and
    • It has been less than 63 days since that coverage ended and
    • You plan to live here permanently
Other Ways to Qualify
Maryland residents may also qualify for MHIP under the following conditions:
  • You lost your employer-sponsored group insurance and the continuation of benefits you elected has run out, or
  • You have a pension from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, are at least 55 years old and are not entitled to Medicare*, or
  • Your job has been affected by competition from international trade*