Thursday, February 22, 2007

And are you pregnant, sir?

And still the Vhi requires all members to pay for maternity cover as a non-optional part of their health insurance. That's ALL members, including the men and anyone else who is physically incapable of ever claiming for it.

Harney Dumpty at Skangerland

Risk equalisation, community rating - all fine and dandy, but if I'm going to have to pay out to subsidise the costs of popping out your kids then let's have it in some other insurance markets. Why not car insurance? For most people in modern Ireland driving's more a necessity than a luxury, so why are some punished with onerous insurance costs? Why not spread it a bit more evenly?

Not fair for the careful female driver in her late thirties and a Renault Espace to pay more to cover the risks associated with the nineteen-year-old salesman in his Honda Civic? So why is it fair that he had to help pay for her maternity costs?

You can argue all you like that statistics show that men are greater risks than women when it comes to driving insurance: the discrimination is in the fact that those stats were gathered in the first place and in that they are considered relevant.

Would any insurance company gather stats on drivers' insurance risks in relation to race, religion or sexual orientation? If they produced statistics showing that left-handed Afro-Caribbean Jews were a greater risk would you be happy to see them charged more? Would any insurance company dare to try it? Would they even dare to gather the statistics in the first place? Not a fucking chance. So why's it okay to do it on the basis of sex?

Once you start to fiddle with markets you risk tying yourself in knots, which is what Harney has done. She seems to want to micromanage how the health insurance market works in this country, which might be helpful if she was any good at it; she patently isn't.