What is medical insurance, anyway? (The price of FREE)

I was at the dentist yesterday, sitting in the waiting room, when this lady comes in and goes to the reception window. She explains how she tried to call but must have been calling the wrong number. So she had to come in to reschedule an appointment for her significant other.

After the receptionist rescheduled the appointment, she asked "Do you want to go ahead and schedule your cleaning and checkup?"

The lady replied, "I am not a patient here and besides, I don't have dental insurance."

With that said, she left.

I sat there for a moment taking that statement in. Was she saying that since she doesn't have insurance she wouldn't do anything for her dental health unless she had an emergency? Or was she saying that since she would have to pay for it, she didn't consider a cleaning and checkup to be a worthwhile thing to do?

Conventional wisdom in the US now is that everyone considers health care to be a basic human right. Well, what good is health care if you are not clothed, fed and sheltered? Do these three items trump health care as a basic human 'need'? (I will not go off on that line of reasoning right now.)

Is it in the best interest of the insurance companies to pay for health maintenance or wellness programs rather than to just pay for emergencies once they have occurred, many of which were caused by negligence on the part of the patient? There are no other traditional insurance plans (home, auto, life, etc.) that pay someone to take preventative measures, although all of them offer some sort of incentive in the form of discounts if you take certain precautions (don't smoke, be a good driver, get a burglar/smoke alarm, etc.)

The question is, are Americans (and people in general) more motivated by significant discounts or FREE?

I think that most are motivated by FREE because FREE is immediate and discounts accumulate over the long haul and are passive, not active benefits.

If all health care is FREE, will people take advantage of it because they really need it or because it is FREE? And the corollary, what if they don't need the care even if it is FREE?

What do you think?

Comments

雅惠 said…
我們這一代最偉大的發現是,人類可以藉由改變心中的態度來改變人生。 ..................................................

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