February 04, 2015

Horse 1834 - Insure ALL The Things!

- I reckon I could be up for some Flower Therapy

The above advert tries to make the point that you don't pay for the things you don't need with ahm Insurance. I suppose that it sort of does that but there is a really strange set of inferences which can be drawn from this advert.

1. We Will Tell You The Things.
The statement that "Flower Therapy is not one of those things" is incredibly authoritarian in nature. The insurance company ahm is dictating to you that you either do or do not need that thing. If ahm does have the power to dictate to you the things that it thinks you need, or at least the things which it will insure you for, what happens if a thing happens which isn't one of the things?
The whole point of insurance is that it is a hedge against an uncertain loss which has been dissipated across many other like insurable items. In the case of health care, those other like insurable items are the health and well being of other people who pay premiums. By having ahm dictate to you the thing which is going to happen, they can exclude you from coverage for an unnamed thing. Suppose that that unnamed thing was a particularly virulent and aggressive form of cancer or leukaemia: what happens then if the thing which you actually need at that time "is not one of those things" which ahm will cover? What if chemotherapy "is not one of those things", or dialysis "is not one of those things"? The insurance company ahm has just expressly dictated to you that you are on your own; how sad, too bad.

2. Other Companies Are Doing Stupid Things.
The statement that "Flower Therapy is not of of those things" combined with the first statement that "ahm insurance covers you for the things you need" sort of implies that other insurance companies cover for things you don't need.
Insurance companies aren't charities though and so I very much doubt that the other insurance companies would charge for coverage on some hitherto unimaginable series of events or conditions which would even warrant flower therapy. Granted that insurance companies have a history in not paying out claims at all in some circumstances, but that doesn't necessarily imply that they'd even charge premiums for a series of events which are never going to happen.
I thought I'd do a little bit of research into finding out what "flower therapy" was; after fifteen minutes of random reinforcement from the Yellow Pages and discovering that there are no practitioners who are listed in Sydney as dealing in flower therapy, the process of elimination leads me to conclude that it isn't even a thing. Mind you, there are some really strange things which health insurance companies will cover you for and charge premiums accordingly. Ear candling is a thing, Swedish cupping is a thing but flower therapy is not a thing.
Flower therapy is not one of those things you need because it is not a thing. Saying that they do not charge for a thing which does not exist, suggests to me that ahm might have a Department of Redundancies Redundancy Department; they will charge you for the administrative expense of running that redundant department.

3. You Need To Pay For Their Profits.
This is a matter of which syllable you put the emphasis on. Obviously you need to pay for their profits because if you want to be covered, you need to pay. If ahm insurance covers you for the things you need, then they've just said that you need to line someone else's pockets.
I have a sort of ideological problem with private firms trading upon the health of the population as a business model. Insurance itself is governed by negative self selection criteria, which mean to say that the people who need it the most are most likely to buy in and the people who need it least are the least likely to buy in, and the most efficient position for any insurance system is when the whole population of insurable items is covered. With health care, this is demonstrably proven with real world examples, as countries with a greater degree of public health care have lower per unit costs.
By ahm insurance as a private firm saying that they cover you for the things you need, they are in effect saying that you need a more expensive and less efficient health care system. Anyone who has suffered through the United States' health care system knows that you need a more expensive and less efficient health care system like you need an untreated hole in the head because the health insurance companies won't cover you.
Hyperbole? Absolutely.

I do wonder though:
If we were to stretch this out beyond the point of sensibility and did find that flower therapy was a thing, would ahm's flower therapy be a good one? Would private patient flower therapy through a more expensive provider be a whole bouquet whilst NHS flower therapy be just a couple of sad looking chrysanthemums? Which health insurance provider did Vincent Van Gogh use, that he was able to get flower therapy but they charged him an ear?

Health insurance generally is the sort of thing which you should consider purchasing because it is prudent to do so. The various kinds of cover which those health insurance companies provide is also a thing worth considering. Flower Therapy is not one of those things which any health insurance companies provide; so why even bring it up?

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