Profiting From Insecurity

I’ve seen the commercials on daytime TV, promising health insurance for just pennies a day. No physical exam needed. They seemed to be targeting the elderly, and I figured it was probably a scam to get people to pay for what is already covered on Medicare.

It’s not just the elderly who can be tempted, though. When people get worried, or desperate, they can make ‘bad choices’. And the present situation doesn’t offer many good ones…

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed suit Wednesday against two out-of-state health insurance companies.

The suit alleges that the two companies, Missouri-based Consumer Health Benefits Association and Nevada-based Home Health America, duped consumers into believing they were buying affordable health coverage, when in fact they were purchasing non-insurance products with few benefits.

“Many people are struggling with skyrocketing health insurance premiums,” Swanson said in a statement. “Some companies are exploiting the lack of affordable health coverage by aggressively promoting risky, unregulated health coverage products that offer little or no financial protection if you get sick.”

This is one situation where the free market is a little too free and a state has to step in to protect its citizens. When people have a real choice of well-regulated insurance providers and a pubic option these exploitative schemes will find no buyers.

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