- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The individual mandate in Obamacare would not be necessary if the act did not require coverage of pre-existing conditions without any additional premium costs.

Insurance coverage of any kind is based on the statistical probability of a covered event happening within a certain time A person pays a lower premium for life insurance if they are less likely to die in the near future (i.e., life insurance for a child costs less than life insurance for a senior). Auto insurance costs less for people who have a good driving record and who live in areas that are less likely to have traffic accidents (i.e. rural areas). Most auto insurance companies also have a premium surcharge if a person has an “at fault” accident.

The same is true of non-Obamacare health insurance. People should not be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions but fiscally, it makes sense that they be charged more for their insurance because they are more likely to make a claim in the near future. Perhaps, rather than allowing cancellations after claims are made, there could be an allowable surcharge as there is with auto insurance.

Young people might be encouraged to take out health insurance at a younger, healthier age if premiums were adjusted to reflect the age at which they sign up rather than specific age brackets. Each new age bracket could have several tiers on which premiums were based. This would be like seniors deciding whether they want to take the lower Social Security amount at 62 or wait for the higher payments at full retirement age. People who still decide to wait until they are sick before signing up for insurance could also be assessed a surcharge.

CAROL BREAM



Frederick, Md.

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