INSURANCE BUSINESS CAN BE MESSY

#insurance #healthinsurance #riskmanagement
The insurance business can be messy and complicated.

Some insurance is mandated. For example, a minimum amount of auto insurance, usually liability insurance, in case someone else gets hurt, is required in most states.

Health insurance, under the Affordable Care Act, is now mandated. We can certainly debate the necessity of that – perhaps later.

Life insurance may be the only one that is completely optional, meaning it’s not mandated and many people can live without it.

But even if insurance isn’t mandated, it may be – or should be – something we can’t really live without. When a person doesn’t buy flood insurance because it’s too expensive, but lives in a flood-prone area and gets flooded, many thoughts crowd her mind, and the minds of others watching. Those others watching may want to help, but may cringe at a Go Fund Me request to help HER. They might prefer to help the responsible folks take care of necessities that their flood insurance may not cover.

As for health insurance, the business model may seem complicated.

All insurance business models are about “risk management,” which may seem like a vague term to most, but we’ll use health insurance as an example as we break it down.

The health insurer collects premiums from folks who are healthy, and not making any, or are making very few, claims. When a person gets to a point in his life that he needs to make perhaps significant claims, those premiums he paid all those years may not matter.

The insurer will use all kinds of gimmicks, technicalities and even trickery to find ways to either not pay a claim, or pay as little as possible. They may often put consumers, already dealing with what ails them, through an incredible process to get their money. The more daunting the process, the more likely people will give up.

Remember this: just as consumers don’t like to be put through a wringer to get what they are owed, the insurers don’t like to be pestered day in and day out, either. The rule of thumb: if your policy says you are covered, fight for what you are owed. If the company doesn’t pay, sue.

Then, we have the standoffs between providers, usually big providers who may be the only game in town, and insurers over fees, reimbursements etc. You see insurers use their leverage to give the least to the provider, and you see the provider using its leverage by not taking the insurer’s policyholders as patients.

Remember, an insurer’s promise of coverage with your provider is made to be broken. In standoffs like these, the patients (policyholders) suffer and no one cares.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that despite the exit of some big insurers from the Affordable Care Act marketplace, the law is working well, reducing the number of uninsured Americans considerably. His column was published Aug. 22, 2016, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Though some insurers’ exit from the marketplace is a concern, Krugman says the problem can be fixed if people can learn to work together to do so.

The U.S. is the only major nation in the world in which health insurance is left up to the free market. Some advocate that we move to the single-payer system, in which we’d all have health insurance through the government. There are pitfalls here, too.

The insurance industry provides many, good-paying jobs. Many of those would be gone in a single-payer system. Drug and device companies rely on their U.S. profits for much of the money that goes to researching new and better treatments.

What to do? Determine what insurance you need and buy it. You may have to give up some pleasure and deal with some messy situations along the way, but going without can create far worse consequences. Remember the Fram Oil Man ads: pay me now, or pay me later.

If you are having trouble paying your premiums, look for other ways to make money. There are many part-time options out there that could even give you enough to surpass your main income. To check out one of the best, message me.
Insurance is messy. You may have to shop around frequently for the best deal, but paying penalties, or just taking the risk that you won’t need it, is a recipe for disaster.

Peter

WEALTH CONCENTRATED IN FEWER HANDS

The goal of past generations is to have the next generation be better off than they were.
Many of us can remember a time when, if we worked hard, we advanced. If we had a job and behaved on the job, we could work as long as we wanted, retire when we got older and have a few good years of leisure as a reward for our hard work.
By most accounts, this was called the American Dream.
The recession of 2008 may have changed everything. We now have a world in which the middle class is shrinking because hard-working people are losing their jobs, and having great difficulty finding another that pays as well – if they find one at all.
Lifestyles are being cut back. Pessimistic views of the future abound. Perfectly good, hard-working people are getting discouraged. Spirits are being broken.
Thomas Picketty, a French economist, draws a picture of consolidation of wealth in fewer hands in his book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman calls the book a phenomenon. Krugman wrote about the book in an April 24,2014, column.
Picketty sees a world in which more wealth will be concentrated in a decreasing number of hands. He sees that as a dangerous trend.
No one wants anyone to get paid for laziness. Most people want to work, and want to be paid fairly for what they do. Krugman points out that more conservative economic policies of government are leading to wealth being spread more lavishly on fewer people, at the expense of a majority of others.
Without getting into a debate about the values, or evils, of socialism or capitalism, let’s look at what we have in front of us.
Many of us have gone through a downsizing at work. Companies are learning to operate with fewer people, thanks to technology advancements and other things.
When this happened in previous decades, those who got laid off were reasonably confident they would find work before too much time passed. Today, that’s not necessarily the case. There are millions of people who have been out of work for extended periods, and employers are not hiring them because they have been out of work for so long.
Hence, the capitalistic wealth distribution formula – work=money – is turned on its head. The socialist voice is getting louder. In other words: more heavily tax those few who have benefitted from this, to cover those that they injured in the process.
But there may be a better way than wealth redistribution through government. Make more widely known the available vehicles for a person to change his life. There are many opportunities out there for people to live their dreams, despite having been hurt by the current economic trends.
For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. At the same time, some people have to change. It was comfortable having a job, going to work, work as many years as a person wanted and retire not only with the means to meet needs, but perhaps to also enjoy leisure.
You can be angry at wealth concentration in a few hands, or you can find a way to gain more wealth for yourself, and help others do the same.
That’s the ultimate in people helping people. If more people did that, proper wealth distribution would naturally occur, without government interference.
It’s always better to earn your own wealth than to take someone else’s. Look for a vehicle that allows you to do that, without impoverishing others in the process. Look for that vehicle you and your friends could ride together — and work together to enrich each other.
Think of the good you can do in the process. Best of all, think of the fun you’ll have doing it.
Peter

CAPITAL, LABOR AND ECONOMIC FUTURE

Are we, or have we been, moving into a trend in which capital surpasses labor as the economic engine?
New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman thinks so.
From the working person’s viewpoint, the economy is still quite depressed. But economic figures are improving and corporations are making record profits. Many of these companies are holding on to their cash for dear life, fearing the investment and regulatory climate now and to come.
Krugman points out that manufacturing is moving back to the U.S. from overseas. He uses the example of manufacturing computer mother boards. They are made largely by robots, so the cheap, Asian labor is no longer needed. Perhaps that’s why we hear that China’s economy is contracting.
But let’s look at the way things are, from where you sit. Chances are, if you are still working, you have at least some fear that your job is going to go away before you want it to. Perhaps you are saving your pennies, and not spending frivolously, in anticipation of being shown the door at work. The U.S. savings rate needed a shot in the arm, for sure, but how it is getting it is quite disconcerting.
Perhaps you are out of work, and have been for a while. You scratch your head because the job you had, which you had thought, or even had been told, was vital to your company just went away. It’s not as if you had done a lousy job at it and were replaced. Your job just went away, and it’s not coming back.
Meanwhile, you hear about record profits for companies and wonder why they are not putting some of that money back into their operations, i.e. in creating new jobs. Well, they probably don’t have to. Technology has improved to the point at which machines replace people in big numbers. No matter how much money they have, companies will not create jobs they don’t think they need. Some will actually cut jobs they should maintain.
This phenomenon is detrimental to what we know as the middle class. Because those with the capital have political benefactors, they may be creating a political system that lets them get richer at others’ expense. When the successful are protected in this way, the less successful become more vulnerable. As Krugman says, we’re not talking about a gap between the educated work force and the less educated. In this milieu, EVERYONE gets paid less. When the less successful become more vulnerable, they not only get paid less for what they do. They pay more for what they need.
INHERITANCE TAXES CAN HURT
Krugman says that the rich also are fighting to eliminate inheritance taxes. He may find some disagreement here, because inheritance taxes can prevent family businesses from being given to future generations of that family. Sometimes, families have to sell their businesses to cover the tax bill, and there is something wrong with that. On the other hand, there could be large amounts of wealth being easily transferred to people who are already wealthy, without adding to the economic engine.
If this trend of forced idleness continues, it bodes ill. Look at what is happening in other countries, where young, often educated people can’t find work. Such free time among a disgruntled group can lead to all sorts of bad things.
However, in all this, there is good news. There are lots of ways out there to make money, without worrying about having a traditional job. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Hear and see the stories of how average people are making above-average incomes, and helping others do the same. It also attacks the notion of paying more for what one needs.
So if you are working, think about your plan B. Savings will certainly help you, but they may not cover all your bills without a paycheck. If you are not working, don’t be discouraged. Check out one of the many opportunities there are, through which average people, regardless of education, are prospering. Sometimes, becoming successful just requires being open to looking at something different.
It has been said that the best way to help the poor is to not be one of them. The best way to fight the capital vs. labor battle that Krugman illustrates is to find ways to generate more real capital. Kurgman calls the capital guys robber barons. If you help people prosper with you, that’s makes you a benefactor.
Peter