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Rescission Math

Rescission is the retroactive cancellation of individual health insurance policies.  This is used by the health insurance industry to keep their medical loss ratio low and avoid paying for expensive or chronic health problems. Which is what you bought insurance for, but who knew.

Unconscionable Math is a posting at Taunter Media that shows your chances of being cancelled if you get sick or need expensive care is a whole lot higher than the health insurance industry is telling you. Highly Recommended.

Having a connection

Having a fast internet connection is great until you don’t. Having a single source for TV, Internet and phone is great until it breaks. Being in Arizona and having Cox, when it works, is great. Unfortunately the heat is kicking the ass out of the equipment that Cox uses to get the signal to my house. Sometime I have TV and phone,  sometime I have internet and TV, sometime I have phone and internet, sometime I have nothing.

The heat over about 103 causes my connections to break down. Which of course sucks. Now that it is raining and the temperature is around 80, it is working fine.

Calling for service when your phone is down presents challenges. Having a mobile phone line is sort a hidden tax you have to pay when Cox falls down on the job. Recently calling Cox has a new voice answering system, where you speak your problem, and it provides a canned response like “we have technicians working on the problem”.

I hope the money that they think they are saving goes to upgrade the equipment to something that can handle the heat.

KindleGate or Amazon’s Notion of Ownership

Last week, owners of the Amazon Kindle discovered that those who had purchased certain copies of 1984 had them deleted by Amazon. They were given a refund, but it was some time before an explanation of this unilateral action was made.  Amazon stated that the copies deleted were sold without ‘some’ copyright.

The Kindle is one of those ‘dancing bear’ devices. Some folks such as myself see how badly the thing works with a monochrome screen ‘ fer christsakes, a single format, being smeared with  fecal DRM, and a case of the paranoids long before Kindlegate. The idea that when you turn it on, it phones home, and you having no idea of who is maintaining the connection, what information they are gathering, who they are selling it to, or giving it away either in explicitly personal terms or aggregate.  Then there are the folks who actually ‘bought’ one because they are amazed that the bear dances at all. And having a dancing bear somehow validates their geekiness without  actually understanding what is wrong with dancing bears.

The irony of 1984 being the poster child of Amazon’s ability to remove things you bought at their discretion underscores why digital books and devices are not ready for prime time. This action is like your bookstore sending a clerk into your house, removing a book you bought and paid for and  leaving money on the nightstand. Like they will get past my dogs.

Stowe Boyd has the “Agreement” on his site with a few pithy comments.

Every ugly’ fuck the customer’ term and condition is there. Mandatory Arbitration, DMCA proscriptions, licensing rather than selling the material neatly sidestepping the First Sale Doctrine, that allows you to sell things you buy that have copyright like books, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. , unilateral changes to the agreement by Amazon without your consent, and further more your automatic agreement with their actions.

If i want to rent a book, there are things called Public Library’s that are a hell of a lot cheaper. If I Buy something I Own IT!

If you ever see me with a Kindle in my hands, just shoot me. Really.

Medical Loss Ratio

Health Insurance has always been presented as a method of sharing risk across large groups so that when catastrophe strikes you are covered. The theory is that premiums create a large pool of money that is used to cover you in the case of need. Conversely your premium is used to help someone else. This of course breaks down as soon as somebody can find a way to get folks who might actually need to use their policy denied benefits. The insurance industry uses rescission, purging, and the latest game, the Medical Loss Ratio.

Medical Loss Ratio is a term that has nothing to do with providing health care, but everything to do with profitability of for profit insurance companies.

Here is a quote from Wendell Potter, who until recently was the Chief PR guy at Cigna, during an interview with Bill Moyer.

WENDELL POTTER: Well, there’s a measure of profitability that investors look to, and it’s called a medical loss ratio. And it’s unique to the health insurance industry. And by medical loss ratio, I mean that it’s a measure that tells investors or anyone else how much of a premium dollar is used by the insurance company to actually pay medical claims. And that has been shrinking, over the years, since the industry’s been dominated by, or become dominated by for-profit insurance companies. Back in the early ’90s, or back during the time that the Clinton plan was being debated, 95 cents out of every dollar was sent, you know, on average was used by the insurance companies to pay claims. Last year, it was down to just slightly above 80 percent.

Here is the Interview Video.
Here is the transcript.

After watching this, you may have a different view on health insurance.