Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Cavalcade of Risk

A little late, but here's the the most recent Cavalcade of Risk, in which Jaan Sidorov in his Disease Management Care Blog links to a number of interesting posts on various blogs about various aspects of risk.

Jaan linked to my post on why gun insurance won't work.

I pointed out in that post that liability insurance by its nature cannot provide coverage for intentional acts. Jaan responded:

Yet, thinks the DMCB, health insurance covers intentional injuries and what about the person who knowingly continues with a lifestyle that is harmful.....?

While it's true that health insurance provides coverage for lung cancer for smokers and carpal tunnel syndrome for people who play too many computer games, that's not quite the right analogy. Liability insurance does generally provide coverage for harm incurred from risky behavior. There is no exclusion from motor vehicle coverage if the insured is speeding or from medical malpractice insurance if the doctor has scheduled more operations in a day than can be considered optimally safe.

The true analogy would be health insurance for a suicide attempt, which is intentional harm to oneself, not just the losing side of a risk. But then one gets into a semantic discussion: did the insured intend to become depressed or mentally ill? It's interesting to note that life insurance generally excludes coverage for suicide.

In any event, one must be careful not to analogize too much between medical insurance and liability insurance, mostly because I just don't know all that much about medical insurance.

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