September 14, 2009

Health insurance not like other insurance

Lost in the debate over healthcare is the fact that health insurance differs from other types of insurance, a U.S. researcher says.

Ty Leverty, assistant professor of finance in the Tippie College of Business and Tristar risk management fellow at the University of Iowa, suggests health insurance differs from other types of insurance in three key ways.

-- Health insurance covers the cost of predictable things, like an annual checkup, mammograms or cholesterol tests. That's like asking auto insurers to cover the cost of a tune-up, Leverty says.

-- People expect health insurance to pay to visit a doctor for for minor things like wart removal. We don't expect our auto insurance to pay for the costs of replacing a burned out headlight, Leverty says.

-- Many Americans get their health insurance through their employers and as a result many don't really know how much they're paying for it and don't know how much their healthcare costs.

In the healthcare debate, it seems many people who are opposed to change say they like their current insurance because they don't pay much for it, or so they think, Leverty says in a statement. If they knew how much that insurance costs them, they might not like it so much. Moreover, many people like their insurance because they have never really tested it. One only knows how good their insurance is when they really need it.