Get sick, go to hospital, insurer covers. There is a shortlist of things the insurer won't cover. You pay the insurer each month.
Insurance isn't complicated. It is a complicated by bad regulation that mean insurers aren't trying to sell to individuals.
> A company, on the other hand, gets to amortize the cost of figuring out the right options...
That sounds like a pretty decent argument until the implications are examined. An identical argument could be made for:
The truth is that the amortization of figuring out what people want is best done by the insurer, and then people just buy whatever their friends have. Like everything else.
> You might think it's fun/funny.
I think it is funny that I'm commenting on a system more than an ocean away, I'm not laughing at sick people. That would be a bit weird.
> No. The American system grew up as it did for particular local reasons...
The reasons are, in hindsight, stupid. They should switch to using a system that makes sense. Either the capitalist way or the socialist way. The crazy hybrid that is used in practice is crazy.
Just because there is a stupid system in place today is not a reason to stick to it, and everyone agrees with that idea.
It is extraordinarily clear that you've never had to do this. And apparently never had to deal with a serious illness in your family. Which is great for you, but please understand that's not the case for others.
> An identical argument could be made for [...]
No, not at all. The only one of those that might meet the four factors I describe is schooling, which is also a highly fraught choice, but it's still not as bad on dimensions B, C, and D. Individual educational needs are also less varied and more predictable than medical care needs. And for choosing education, society puts extensive effort into helping people make those choices well: school rankings, guidance counselors, oceans of books and articles, school accreditation, etc, etc. Until the ACA, there was basically no assistance for picking an individual care plan. ACA marketplaces help a bit, but it's still an extremely difficult choice.
> Insurance isn't complicated. It is a complicated by bad regulation that mean insurers aren't trying to sell to individuals.
It's complicated in America because the right wing in America's position is not "if everyone buys private insurance it'll be good," but rather is "I have good cheap-to-me insurance through my job that I like, and I'll be damned if i contribute a penny to those who don't, and you shouldn't force them to buy it, even if that means that only the unhealthy people will be in the private market."
When Republicans complain about the ACA's health insurance regulations they're talking about regulations that mean "people should be required to have coverage to keep the market healthy" and "that coverage shouldn't be practically-useless bullshit"
But for things they do cover, what price do they pay? That seems to be the crux here.
Something like travel insurance is simpler, because when they buy you a hotel room / a new suitcase, most of the other buyers are not insurance, and so there's a market price they can refer to. But healthcare isn't like that, and it seems the the prices of many procedures vary wildly, like 100x between different hospitals. Nobody can afford a 100x increase in premiums.
From what I understand about better-functioning health insurance systems, there's usually also a pricelist written up by the government. That seems like the crucial foundation for a useful health insurance market. Much as I wish there was a nice market mechanism for this, I have yet to see one.
I live in a country with public healthcare and even there, private medical insurance is ridiculously complicated. I'd wager insurance in general is in top 3 of the most complicated products available for regular people. Nowhere else I had to read and sign a TOS the size of a long novel. I imagine that for Americans, it's only worse.
And as for the book-length TOS, almost nothing in there seemed to me like regulatory requirements - it all read like the usual "try to exploit the customer as much as possible while making sure the customer can't exploit us" terms.