Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Would The “Snoopers’ Charter” Affect Your Health Insurance Premiums?

Though it is still a draft UK bill, would such legislative maneuverings eventually affect your insurance premium rates if your “city-state” decides to adopt such laws? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Sometimes the rule of law can be a wonderful thing given that most of them are legislated to protect us working class folks from the alleged tyranny of “big government” and “big corporations”, but in this day and age, political lobbyists – especially in affluent countries – more often than not, wield powers that would allow them to legislate laws that could exploit the working class. And the Draft Communications Data Bill – otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter – though still a UK based legislative bill, could serve as a template to be followed by powerful political lobbyists the world over to legislate laws that could maximize their respective corporate interests’ profits at the expense of their ordinary working class clients. 

A case in point is when your health insurance provider suddenly increases your insurance premiums when they managed to find out, via the “Snoopers’ Charter” or a law modeled after it because they can now data mine your search engine’s history – especially if you searched for cardiovascular related health topics during the last twelve months. Your health insurance provider could use your search history or your “cyber-hypochondria” as a “valid reason” to jack up your monthly insurance premiums. 

Though the UK’s Draft Communications Data Bill or Snoopers’ Charter had been “championed” by UK Home Secretary Theresa May citing terror attacks – i.e. the 7/7 Terror Attacks - and the “UK’s burgeoning online paedophile scene” despite protests from various civil liberties groups across the UK. Even though the retained data may only be obtained via top-tier judicial warrants, various unscrupulous insurance providers could hire Black Hat Hackers to snoop on your retained search data of the last twelve months to spy on your “online lifestyle” and use it as an allegedly valid excuse to jack up your insurance premium rates. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Insurance Firms: Most Exposed To Climate Change Threat?

Even though it is projected to severely impact the world’s poorest, are the fiscal impacts of climate change threat going to affect mostly insurance firms? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Even though it is the most pressing social justice issue of the 21st Century given that it is the most affluent are creating the problem, climate change severely affects the world’s poorest when it comes to affecting livelihoods and degrading the habitability of communities. But form a fiscal perspective, insurance firms will be the ones most exposed to the climate change threat according to the Bank of England governor Mark Carney. A case in point of insurance firms bearing the fiscal brunt of climate change risks was the 2005 Hurricane Katrina that caused billions of dollars worth of damage. 

Insurance firms might be the most exposed to the risk of the climate change threat but financial risk to fossil fuel extraction firms are not merely trivial as well. Future legislation to limit the severity of the impact of climate change could create fossil fuel extraction companies who can’t sell and burn the fossil fuels they have currently access to. Chances are, climate change – at least the preparations to be taken to lessen the severity of its impact – will certainly remodel the global economy into something that’s wholly different than its current form. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Can Your Health Insurance / Medical Insurance Provider Handle A Sudden Drug Price Hike?

With the sudden 5,000 percent price increase of an already generic drug, is your health insurance / medical insurance provider have enough contingency as to not leave you financially high and dry?

By: Ringo Bones 

Along with Big Coal and Big Oil Capitol Hill lobbyists, Big Pharma is now one of the new symbols of corporate greed that causes unnecessary misery of working class Americans and even people of the rest of the world. And when the drug company Turing Pharmaceuticals recently acquired the license to manufacture a 62-year old lifesaving drug that has since become a generic drug called Daraprim and overnight raised its price by 5,000 percent from 13.50 US dollars per tablet to about 750 US dollars per tablet, millions of people prescribed by the drug are soon up in arms. Even though Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has since roll-backed the 5,000 percent price increase, many now wonder if Big Pharma exploitation of working class patients are causing yet another undue suffering. But is Turing Pharmaceuticals 5,000 percent price rise of a lifesaving generic drug even justified? 

Despite Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkrreli saying that his decision for the 5,000 percent price increase of Daraprim is motivated by altruism, anyone with a rudimentary working knowledge of economics compare the move as akin to a luxury sport-scar manufacturer purchasing the rights to manufacture a South Korean family sedan that used to sell for 6,000 US dollars each and then increasing its price to 70,000 US dollars overnight. All of which only highlights the problem of how corporate greed in America and their super-strong lobbying powers at Capitol Hill is causing undue suffering of Americans and everyone else on the planet. 

Daraprim entered the pharmaceutical market about 62 years ago as a treatment of the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis and has since been priced as a generic drug. Given their compromised immune system, the main users of Daraprim are HIV / AIDS patients who are easily infected by toxoplasmosis and related infections in comparison to people with normal immune systems. Even though Turing Pharmaceuticals has since roll-backed the price of Daraprim, does your health insurance provider / medical insurance provider has the contingency in its policy as to not leave you financially high and dry if such “Big Pharma shenanigans” ever happens again?  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Are There UK NHS Loopholes In European Health Insurance Cards?

Right-leaning conservative British MPs may be appalled to hear about this but are there “loopholes” that allow non-UK citizens to avail of the UK’s NHS insurance benefits in their own country? 

By: Ringo Bones 

At present, the UK’s NHS is handing out five million European Health Insurance Cards annually that allows Britons to charge emergency treatment abroad back to their own NHS accounts. But to the dismay of every right-leaning conservative UK MP’s with a beef against “welfare queens”, cards are being given to any EU citizens who say they are living in the UK. Even Eastern Europeans are using them in their home country to make NHS cover costs which finally prompted Downing Street to order an investigation back in Friday, August 14, 2015 into “completely unacceptable” revelations that foreigners are billing the NHS for expensive healthcare they receive in their own country. 

Under an extraordinary legal NHS insurance benefits loophole of European Health Insurance Cards – or EHIC cards - carried by UK citizens, migrants are able to charge the full cost of medical treatment in their home countries to the UK’s NHS, even if they have never paid a penny of tax in Britain. They do this by obtaining European Health Insurance Cards from the UK’s NHS which are intended for legal British citizens to use in cases of emergency while on holiday in EU member countries. 

The cards entitle them to charge the NHS for the cost of any medical treatment they might urgently need while overseas within Europe, But the NHS is handing out more than five million of these EHIC cards for free every year – and keeping no record on how many are given to non-UK residents – i.e. foreigners. The cards are given out freely to any EU citizens who said they are living in the UK even if they haven’t actually worked or paid any tax there. 

As the result of this UK’s NHS legal insurance loophole, Eastern Europeans can obtain the cards, then return to their home countries and use them to have medical treatment they would usually have to pay for – except for this time it is now paid by the NHS thanks to their European Health Insurance Cards. UK’s Health Minister Alistair Burt said it was “completely unacceptable” that people who have never paid tax in Britain can charge the NHS for treatment they receive in their own country. He said the government would “urgently carry out more work” to investigate. Mr. Burt said: “This Government has already introduced tough measures to clamp down on migrants using healthcare without making a contribution, to save half a billion pounds within a few years.”    

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Should HIV Positive Persons Get Life Insurance?

Given that death rates of HIV positive individuals have fallen during the past few years, should they be given access to life insurance? 

By:  Ringo Bones 

The good news is, the death rates of persons who are diagnosed as HIV positive have fallen by as much as 40 percent around the world since 2005. The bad news is that there are still some insurance providers who deny them life insurance. Since the 1980s, patients who are diagnosed to be HIV positive have been denied access to fully underwritten traditional life insurance. But as death rates in HIV positive diagnosed persons continue to fall due to the advent of affordable and increased access to anti-retroviral medication, life insurance underwriting for HIV positive diagnosed persons are now available. 

Ross Deerman, chef executive of All Life provides mortgage and life insurance policies to HIV positive diagnosed persons / AIDS survivors during the past few years in South Africa. During the past five years, death rates of HIV positive diagnosed persons on the African content have fallen by as much as 58-percent but the stigma still remains on traditional insurance underwriters not granting life insurance policies to HIV / AIDS survivors. All Life’s program / business model of giving HIV Positive persons access to fully underwritten traditional life insurance has already spread to other countries with local All Life branches. Maybe insurance providers should also offer healthcare packages designed for lower income HIV positive persons that allow them greater access to anti-retroviral medication.