Sunday, October 22, 2017

Is insurance a scheme or a real product?

Albertans are very lucky, we have “free” healthcare.  Sorry if I show a bit of sarcasm when putting “free” in between brackets.  Because the sun going up is one of the few things that is truly for free. Our province is the main customer of the healthcare industry and it represents us tax payers. Close to half, if not more of our income goes to the tax man through income tax, parking fees, property tax, GST (and not in Alberta, PST) and sin taxes, lottery tickets, tuition fees and god knows what more. Out of those provincial revenue streams (from your pockets to theirs) some is used to pay for basic healthcare. BTW, if you hear Calgary’s newly elected mayor boast that we pay one of the lowest property taxes in North America did he include with that parking fees?

Did you ever try to save on your energy bill?  You hear that nice story: Oh… with a High Energy Efficient furnace you reduce your energy consumption by 30%!  Yeah but not your energy BILL! Because the energy charges make up less than 30% of your energy bill. The rest are ‘administration fees’; ‘transmission fees’; provincial tax, etcetera, etcetera.  Who owns ENMAX? If you see the bureaucracy you have to deal with as an ‘Enmax customer’ you know: yep it’s the City. So all that money, in the form of ‘dividends’ get’s sucked into the municipal coffers (they have many), is not tax?

NOTHING IS FOR FREE! Sorry to disappoint. If you have insurance on something, say your house and it burns down do you get a new house from the insurance for free?  Then why are they so profitable?  Why is Geico such a profitable part in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway?  Of course, you don’t get that house for free! You along with millions of other customers pay insurance premium. Which is nothing more that a forced-savings plan. out of which your new house was paid The pool of money you and your fellow customers save together is enormous and that is borrowed for FREE by the insurance company to invest. Even if they make only a 0ne percent rate of return on the investment; the insurance company’s return (because they use your money and don’t pay interest) is infinite. To add insult to injury, the premium is not all going into that forced savings pool; you also must pay for overhead: marketing; accounting and of course the CEO’s salary — sorry, compensation. Ohh and they have to make a profit on your premium as well, of course!  OF COURSE only the sun goes up for free and I really wonder what environmental price we will have to pay for capturing all that solar energy that we are draining from the system? 😊

So, excuse me, if I try to avoid insurance companies like the pest, except for investing in them. Of course! I have been prescribed some pills – alas not medical marijuana. One of them is a new drug that I may have to buy for the rest of my life. It costs me $100 per month, but my doctor gave me a discount card (because the pharmaceutical company wants to show Alberta’s government how beneficial it is for people with my condition; so  that it may be included in Alberta Healthcare). Then they can really pump their prescription drug income!  A couple of months into the discount it is cancelled!  Now I must pay those exorbitant fees again!  Why was it cancelled? Because the Alberta government took the discount and only made it available for insured people! 

Well, I was pissed on the Notley bunch.  But then I did the math for a BlueCross insurance premium policy by the province. I calculated the annual premium and subtracted my prescriptions and dentist bill and my eye doctor. If I got it right, with the Blue Cross, more than the sun goes up for free.  It is a good deal!  I will check one of these weeks whether I understand this right. Heck, I may even vote NDP next time!  Eh…. No ffng way! But I am going to get a bit of my taxes back!

BTW:  I love our universal health system and I think it is good that we all get the same basic care. I don't think we have the right to have healthcare - after all doctors, pharmacists and others should also have the right to make money and proportional to demand!  But access to good healthcare for poor and rich is just the right neighborly thing to have. My experience with universal healthcare is good except within the city limits - probably a lack of resources.  Let me know how your experiences are with Alberta Healthcare.

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