Yeah, like 50 grand would pay the medical costs for smacking an unhelmeted head on the asphalt anyway. Just another idiotic move by those who govern us to make it look like they are actually doing something for the money that they extort form us.
I am amazed that there is no compulsory helmet law in Fla. and other states. Here in Ontario there has been a compulsory helmet law and safety course for years and the two together definitely saves lives. It seems that those who choose to ride without a helmet do not value their lives very much. The argument about government interference is rubbish. Helmets save lives. Plain and simple.
I ride with a helmet without complaint. I do understand the arguement for riding without. As an insurance guy, however, I believe that if you choose to ride without a helmet then it's your responsibility to provide insurance to cover your medical expenses in case of trauma. It is not the tax payers responsibility to repair your injuries. After you obtain proper health care coverage the state dmvs can provide an endorsement on your license saying so. If you are caught up in an accident riding helmetless and do not have the endorsement then the hospital should have the right to refuse services. A portion of my taxes should not be used for anothers stupidity. But then again, I also believe that illegal aliens should be refused services that are provided by tax payer money. How insensitive of me.
It's not really like that. In most cases the companies or the agencies never even know. But to be fair, the companies do lobby on the side of manditory helmets for a reason. Law suites hurt us all. If we ever want to see the m/c insurance industry stablize then we should expect to see consumers use common sense when riding. That won't happen as long as ABATE and some other smaller organizations don't back off this idea.
Of course the responsible thing for riders is to buy insurance to cover the increased risk they expose themselves to as a result of participating in the sport. It would be even more responsible to take prudent precautions, such as wearing helmets, protective boots and other clothing, and taking formal rider training. I suppose an argument could be made, and often is (at least by my wife) that the really responsible thing to do is not to ride at all. But, since we can't all live in antiseptic bubbles you have to draw the line somewhere. I personally choose to draw it at wearing proper protective gear, not riding while impaired by substances, fatigue or emotion, or in weather that is unreasonably bad (such as snow or ice on the roads). Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing my preferences enshrined in law, but clearly not everyone agrees, and as a believer in democracy I'm comfortable going along with that.
As far as hospitals refusing service to injured cyclists or even illegal aliens, I can't go along with that. The mission of a hospital and any health care worker is (or should be) to treat first and ask questions later, at least in the case of a medical emergency. This principle is reflected in the federal law known as EMTALA (emergency medical treatment and active labor act), which requires hospitals to provide care to emergency patients without regard to ability to pay. It effectively makes it illegal to even discuss fees with an emergency patient before treating them. It was passed mostly to prohibit refusing life-saving treatment to uninsured patients (who currently make up about 16% of the US population), a practice also know as "dumping."
This law is financial bad news for hospitals, and is really unfair to them economically. It actually threatens the existence of many hospitals and the overall availbility of the trauma services we all rely on in emergencies.
In my view it is just another good reason why we should adopt some form of universal health insurance coverage.
Howver, it is good policy in that it relieves emergency medical personnel from trying to adjudicate whether or not someone financially or legally qualifies for emergency services, thereby making it possible to do their lifesaving work without uneccessary delay or extraneous concern. To bring the issue home, would you like to have your life at risk because your ambulance was diverted multiple times after a motorcycling injury -- or any other injury or illness -- because the cops or paramedics couln't find your driver's license/insurance card/bith certificate or passport? I know I wouldn't.
As I said, this is really unfair to hospitals, which bear the legal and financial burden of treating uninsured patients. But it is ufair to us all, because these financial burdens can't be borne indefinately, and have already resulted in a loss of emergency services to many inner city and rural areas, where rates of uninsured patiens are highest. But until we as a society directly address the financial aspects of whether and to what extent health care is a right (vs. a commercial product), we will continue to have this problem.
"We use common sense" does not include or imply that All use common sense. Fact is insurance is madated by local gov't but my NO means should it be controled by gov't. We live in a capitalist nation. Our way of life here depends on profit margin. Reality is simple. I sell $250k annually in written premium to a very large insurance company. That same company expects me to keep a loss ratio (yes, your loss counts against your local insurance agent) around 70% (you read that right). If that big insurance company is paying out $175k annually in claims at a minimum (and my loss ratio with this company was 77%) then what is perceived as hugh profits is now down to less that 30% of annual premium. Then pay the expenses (cust serv agent, claims adjusters, basic staff) that 30% premium is barely making a 5%-8% profit for the year. Would you own a business that only made a net profit of 8% annually. They do. As far as the rider that responded to my claim that hospitals refuse treatment for those that do not have coveage- 1- the percentage of uninsured health care citizens in the country is closer to 8-10% annually and maybe lower than that if you account for people that simply switch health care providers. The number you use is scewed by the fact that you take into account that the majority of those seeking benifits or services are NOT citizens of the United States. So, once again, as insensitive as it sounds. TOUGH for them.
Nonsense. Insurance exists to spread the risk of low-probability events to as widely as possible. No amount of "common sense" can prevent someone from having a heart attack at age 37 (as **** Cheney did) or giving birth to a disabled child, or losing their home in a tornado or earthquake, or getting hit by an airplane while traveling in a car on a public street (as recently occured just outside Midway airport in Chicago).
That said, one important concept in insurance is the introduction of what is known as "moral hazard:" in effect encouraging someone to take an unwarranted risk by removing the financial consequences of taking that risk, or creating some kind of reward for taking a risk of incuring an injury. An extreme example would be a suicidal person taking out a large insurance policy and then killing themselves. Insurers guard against this kind of incentive by excluding suicide for a period of years or indefinitely when writing an insurance policy. Insurers also often exclude or attempt to exclude hazardous activities, including skiing and motorcycle riding, from health policies. Some even exclude coverage for illnesses related to smoking or even failure to address health issues such as obesity or diabetes, though state and federal law limit insurers' ability to include such restrictions to varying degrees.
Such underwriting exclusions call on the individual to take prudent measures to avoid injury or loss. To what extent individuals or companies accommodate hazardous behavior is a matter of contract.
You are correct in your analysis that as long as insurers are motivated by profit, the incentive is to discourage all forms of risky behaviour -- and every other form of risk that the law allows, including the risk of water damage (as opposed to wind damage) in hurricanes, and to not provide health insurance to individuals with any kind of illness or medical need. However, it is important to note that not every risk is under the control of an individual, and to the extent that risk is not controllable, insurance is necessary to provide financial stability in our society.
I wear a helmet, but don't have to in the state I live in. I'd rather keep it that way, and it's not rubbish. May be you ascribe to a collectivist mentality as that is all you know. What's next, tax on how many miles we ride? That's rubbish.
Not to pick too many nits, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of August 30, 2005, the numbner of non-elderly uninsured Americans stood at 17.8%. While ther is controversy as to whether this figure represents those who have been unisured for the entire previous year or is only those who a re unisured at a given point in time, ther is no question that it has been rising. I include the following excerpt from an article in the Novemebr 2005 journal Health Affairs:
Changes in coverage. Nonelderly. Between 2000 and 2004, the number of uninsured nonelderly Americans increased by 6.0 million (Exhibit 2). Employer-sponsored coverage fell 4.6 percentage points; Medicaid and state-sponsored insurance increased 2.4 percentage points. The small increases in Medicare/TRICARE and directly purchased insurance only partially offset the decline in employer coverage, and the uninsurance rate increased from 16.1 percent to 17.8 percent.
The number of the uninsured aside, my point about not denying coverage based on documetation stands. I certainly wouldn't want the paramedics to delay taking me to a hosptal until I came up with an insurance card or other evidence of coverage. Would you? That is what you are asking for when you suggest that illegal aliens or uninsured patients be denied coverage.
Risk is easy for the basics of underwriting. You account for age, experience and type of risk (in our case- type of bike) and go from there. I can assume that our readers understand the risk is signifcantly higher for a sportbike rider at the age of 19 compaired to a 45 yo. Even if the younger driver has more experience riding than the older rider it's understood that the older rider is less likely to make the mistakes that the the youger driver would make. Does it always work out. No. But the bean counters (they're called actuaries) bank on age as far as premiums go. Spreading risk sounds good but it's not as easy as it sounds in insurance school. Otherwise, the guy riding a CB750 would pay the same amount as the guy riding a VT750. The kid riding a gsxr750 in theory should pay more for a flht because the hd product cost so much more to replace. But that would be wrong- wouldn't it?.. His chances of error are worse on the gsxr- hence the higher premium. In the end insurance is a necessary evil as it were. We need it to cover our own a$$ but we hate it at the same time. It cost my agency so $35-40k annually to operate without paying saleries but my motorcycle commissions add up to $100-110 annually. So, do I pay myself for my hard work in helping the riding public or do I roll the money back into the company hoping for a larger customer base in the future? Anyone need a motorcycle agency worth $250K? I've got over 2200 motorcycle customers- probably more than any single independently owned agency in the southeast.
I'm not telling you that EMT's have that right. They are paid to render service, but the hospital itself has to have a net plus to operate. If they feel that "certain" risk is not worth it then what's the difference between that and an insurance company denying risk based on driving record or pryor health problems. If there is NO way a hospital can recover cost for the uninsured then we (the insured) have no right to ***** and moan when our premiums rise annually. Is that right? The future is Socialized Medicine and the example are the poor SOBs in Canada. They are living in a heathcare mess and we are desitne for the same mess because for some reason we have moved our Great Republic to a nanny state. There's got to be a better way.
You seem to be suggesting that it is not fair that hospitals must absorb the cost of treating the unisured. I agree, and said so above. Do we have a right to complain about the increase in premiums due to hospitals having to charge more to cover losses associated with treating the unisured? Yes, I think we do. However, I think we should address our complaints to the government, not the hosptal or insurance companies.
As the law now stands, hospitals must treat emergency patients without regard to insurance coverage. I don't think this is fair or productive public policy. It puts hospitals and the vital services they provide to all of society at risk. It results in the loss of money-losing services, notably trauma services, in inner cities and rural areas.
Howver, to allow hospitals to withold services in emergencies creates its own problems. If everyone cannot count on being treted first, and billed later, then on one can be sure that they will not be refused care on the grounds that the hospital suspects they cannot pay.
A growing lack of insurance coverag only comp[ounds the problem. The cost of treating unisured patines is actually higher overall because they often delay seeking treatment until an illness or injury is so advanced that it requires hosptal care. Then they go to an emergency room, which cannot leaglly withhold care as a private doctor can.
All of these factors, plus our penchant for spending almost unlimited amounts of money treating peoiple who are clearly goign to die anyway, are making health insurance unaffordable. To get an idea of just how unaffordable, consider this: at the present rate of increase, the cost of a year's premium for health insurance will exceed the median income in the US within a decade. Clearly something has to give.
As this situation increasingly affects teh middle class, I think it will result in an expansion of government sponsored coverage. I do not think this means private insurance will disappear. While private coverage is illegal in Canada, it is legal and thirving in almost every other country that provides universal coverage. Currently in Germany, one of the most renowned and reviled "nanny states" about 20% of the population has private insurance, and the numbers are growing. In Ireland, most people employed by private companies have private insurance. Why? Because it provides more options for treatment and people want it. Companies provide it because it attracts employees, just like it does here in the US. Given the almost religious belief Americans have in free enterprise, I doubt that private health insurance will ever die out in the United States. Nor is it likely that government prgrams (which currently cover about 75 million Americans between Medicare and Medicaid) will ever die out.
he question is where do we place the government safety net? Right now, it is far below the poverty level in most states. To qualify for Medicaid you basically have to have no income and liquidate all of your assets. There is almost no other industrial country (except China) that forces people to impoverish themselves to qualify for public coverage. It's about time we did the same.
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