Today, I get asked about health insurance more than anything else.
Most of the seminars and talks I do are for older people, and many of these have paid premiums for years to an insurance company. Of course, as we age, the likelihood of needing medical treatment increases, making the insurance companies’ costs greater. Moreover, there is an increasing array of treatments for what might ail us, and that, along with the fact that the cost of health treatment is generally rising, makes health insurance more and more expensive.
Older people see their premiums rising and ask the obvious question: what should we do with our health insurance; should we keep it or self-insure?
Many people can simply not afford to go private, which means relying on the public system. The public system may mean waiting, with the length of delay depending on your condition. Once you get your treatment in the public system, you will be treated by some very good, dedicated people – albeit ones who are often under pressure. Nevertheless, your treatment is likely to be good even though the surroundings will not be as comfortable nor treatment as timely as the private system. Many people need to rely on the public system – the cost of private care with or without health insurance is prohibitive.
If you are determined to use the private system, you have a choice regarding whether to pay for insurance or be “self-insured”. Across the whole population, we would be better off cancelling health insurance and paying for treatments and surgery as we need it (i.e. being self-insured). The insurance companies have, of course, worked out the numbers; they know the amount of their total claims for the next year, and they set premiums that allow for those claims and for meeting their expenses. In addition, the premiums are set so that they make a profit.