So I keep hearing this particular point being raised about Health Care Reform regarding pre-existing conditions. Some people don’t think you should be turned downed by insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. I don’t understand this. Sure, it would be nice to be able to have the cost of every ailment taken care of. But in the arena of insurance, this concept of pre-existing conditions makes no sense.

It is my understanding that the purpose of insurance is to be financially protected, or covered, in the case of a catastrophic illness or injury. The idea being that such can be financially challenging and, perhaps, able to bankrupt. The insurance companies make their money when such things don’t happen. They collect premiums paid in regular intervals with the hope that they’ll never have to pay a claim. At the same time, though most people hope to never have to endure a catastrophic illness or injury, they pay the premiums so as not to have to save up millions of dollars just to protect themselves. It’s a nice arrangement and we should be grateful that there exist entities that will risk their money to pay for our medical problems.

Auto and homeowner insurance works the same way. You are actually paying for repairs or replacements that may or may not ever be necessary. Repairs or replacements that would be financially difficult to make without massive savings available.

But no insurance company will insure a home that’s on fire or a car that is totalled from having crashed. So whence comes the expectation that an insurance company must cover a new client with a pre-existing condition?

Don’t get me wrong. I feel for anyone who finds himself in such a position: a victim of a serious or chronic disease, loses his job and with it, his insurance, seeks coverage elsewhere and no one will take him, or they’ll cover everything but that which is related to the illness from which he suffers. But is that really the insurance company’s problem?

Put yourself in they’re position. Consider the car scenario if it helps to understand: someone comes to you for coverage on his car. You go outside and see that it’s on fire. Are you a jerk for telling the guy to push off? I think the customer’s a jerk for expecting a total stranger to come across with bucks just because he came knocking and asking for it. It’s really unconscionable.

Does no one prepare for the unexpected? Is no one responsible anymore for their own troubles? Must we impose upon each other when we should be thinking in terms of never being a burden on others? I would hope that everyone who still has a job is thinking in those terms right now. It’s too late for those who have already lost their job. We’re taught not to store up treasures for ourselves, yet, should we act as if we are impervious to nasty turns of events?

Of course, from the insurance industry standpoint, losing the job does not have to mean losing the insurance. The ex-employee should merely take over the share paid by the employer, thus maintaining the coverage he had when he got sick. There’s really no need to bump him off the group plan. If he never lost the job, the insurance provider would be paying anyway. The insured would simply maintain the policy as long as necessary. The insurer, it seems to me, is still liable for the coverage since that was the point of the insured buying the policy in the first place.

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