Arbitrary Thoughts

"In"s vs. "Out"s

   Mon, January 2, 2006 - 2:26 PM
Two recent incidents have made me more aware of some subtle economic segregation.

The latest "benefits summary" showed up from the medical insurance company. When I use a service provider who is on the plan, it goes something like this: The provider charges $500 (list price) to analyze a body part or some fluid. I pay maybe $10 for the privilege. The insurance company pays around $80. The deal with the preferred provider is that the rest of the charge is simply written off. If I happened to get that same service but without benefit of insurance, I'd be paying the entire freight. Now, I don't think the medical industry is losing money on this deal, so the uninsured--who can least afford this--are probably generating a whole lot of profit for someone.

I bought tax preparation software today. Surprisingly enough, it's the same deal there. I paid 'em $110 and got three different pieces of software. The mail-in rebates promise me $90 back. There's bonuses from my store "rewards" card and credit card rebates, possibly another $10 there. So who's paying for all this software? It could have been me, if I had paid the manufacturer $40 plus shipping for just the tax program.

Are you an "innie" or an "outie?"


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