Living and Learning

Web of Words

Question: Aside from exercise equipment, what is something you buy but hardly ever use?
Answer: Insurance.

I am trying to untangle the web of words surrounding two different insurance policies so that I can try to decide which would serve me better. It’s impossible. There is no way for normal humans to draw direct comparisons. I feel as though I am being kept deliberately in the dark.

When I travel to the U.S. for the winter, I have to take out extra travel insurance in case of emergencies because the American health care system doesn’t actually care about my health. Until now I have been using the travel insurance provided by my supplementary health insurance provider in Canada, but it only covered the first ninety days of my trip. Because I spend longer on my travels, I have had to top it up with additional coverage which has been provided by a second insurance company . This week, though, the first group have informed me that they will now do the topping up part as well. So, I thought I would see how their coverage and rates compared with the second group. This has turned out to be impossible.

I have read through both sets of information twice, and am completely bewildered. The informational material sits on my coffee table and I occasionally pick it up to re-read portions of it, but the more I read the more baffled I become. The first group does not provide enough information about the coverage and the second group provides too much.

             “Bullshit is often compared to money in that it can be beneficial to spread it thinly over a large area, but highly toxic (not to mention disgusting) when too much is concentrated in one place.” (RationalWiki)

To add to this confusion, this week I heard from the Canadian government that they are providing me with some additional health care coverage because I turn sixty-five this year. So, I called the suppliers of my supplementary health insurance to find out if that overlapped the coverage I get through them. The woman I spoke to says they can’t provide information on the government coverage, only their own, so she could not answer my question. While this is reasonable, it doesn’t help me.

What I need is an unbiased website that provides a spreadsheet with all the potential components of insurance from each supplier. This means asking some pretty basic questions. Do they cover pre-existing conditions? How much do each of them charge?

It also means asking some quite esoteric questions. Will they require me to contact them before I get help? What is their lifetime limit? Does their coverage exclude services for illness caused by the emergency after the emergency ends? What if there is a recurrence? How likely is all that anyway? Honestly, this is all too complicated for me. There are just too many variables.

Of course, a website that makes comparisons across insurance companies and policies does not exist. This is probably because no one else can fathom it either. It is most likely, though, that such a website does not exist because it is really not in anyone’s interest to make decisions easier for purchasers of insurance.

The whole process is designed to baffle us. Maybe they are in cahoots with the people who design TV cable packages. If you stopped and asked anyone on the street what bundle of channels their cable agreement covers, I’d bet they would not know. If you asked any snowbird at the border what their travel insurance covers, I guarantee they would not know. See? Same contract writers. I rest my case.

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