I found your article (“It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way,” 3/7) to be reflective of your lack of information and knowledge. Why, you say? Well, first you visit one hospital and see one doctor and make the generalization that providers don’t take their own health seriously and that a hospital would serve a diabetic white bread and soda. You also claim the insurance industry is hawking pharmaceutical ads instead of promoting preventative care on T.V. Sir, all of the major health insurers have and sponsor wellness programs through their websites and to their own customer base. You seem to want to place the blame for the high cost of healthcare on insurers and providers. Your overall projected attitude in your editorial tells me that you really don’t understand the issue here. Answer me this question sir, “Why doesn’t the federal government promote the wellness and preventative benefits covered by Medicare?” Could it be it’s too expensive to advertise such on T.V. and other media outlets? I’ll answer for you sir, yes! It’s the same predicament insurers face. You asked the question in your last sentence, how does the industry get them right side up again? What did the late Milton Friedman say? It’s individual responsibility! Insurers did not promote that when they introduced HMO and rich benefit plans, employers did not promote individuality when they embraced those plans. Lastly, the federal government has done very little to promote individual responsibility. To the contrary, the federal government, and yes, our legislators, have promoted more government dependence. You say in your last paragraph, it didn’t have to be this way. You are exactly right sir! Who was it that said, “I have met the enemy and it is I?”
WHAT AN INSIGHTFUL EDITORIAL you have written. I have thought this way for many years. I am 67. I go to the YWCA three times a week and do cardio for 30 minutes and weights. I eat reasonable food, an occasional drink, and eat pizza and chocolate. Life just keeps getting better. My husband does about the same and is 73. When we go to the Y, I see very few people there working out. It’s a choice thing and many chose to complain about everything. The cup always has water in it–you choose how to see it. Either it is half empty or its half full. Mine is half full. I think as long as people can continue to be lazy, doctors keep smoking and are overweight and hospitals make cheese sandwiches on white bread. There isn’t much hope. I would love to see an insurance company offer a supplement for healthy people. They would need to qualify for this type of policy. So, thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us. Let’s hope that a few more eyes will be opened.
IN THE EDITORIAL YOU STATED “What I can’t figure out is why the health insurance industry plays along. Where are the industry’s public awareness campaigns to promote good health and reduce future claims?” I strongly urge that you become better informed about what the industry is doing to encourage “wellness.” Every group case I service has a wellness promotion benefit. In one company the employer even pays a bonus to employees who comply with the wellness benefit, and the employer charges an additional premium to employees who refuse to avail themselves of the free wellness benefit. Even plans with a high deductible waive the annual deductible for an annual physical. With all of the continuous public promotion to encourage cessation of smoking and eating habits that cause obesity, what more can the health insurance do? The problem is very clearly the refusal of people to monitor their own health practices! Meanwhile I suggest that you accuse those responsible for our collective health problems.
John J. Long
I READ YOUR MESSAGE. It is quite incredible, however it seem to be very common among seniors. I am surprised however about the doctor.
James W. Respess
Not Worth the Effort
In his article, “Splitting the Difference With Split-Dollar Life Insurance Plans,” 2/21, Warren Hersch laments the life insurance industry’s failure to meet the needs of middle income Americans. Today almost everyone under age 45 can buy a 10 year term policy with a face amount equal to 15 times their annual earnings for a premium cost less than 1% of what they earn. Even with sloppy planning an insurance benefit 15 times annual earnings will provide all the financial security families need to raise and educate children and provide replacement income for a surviving spouse. How much less expensive does life insurance have to get before Americans will buy it? The reason Americans are not buying life insurance has nothing to do with its cost. They’re not buying because it is not being sold to them. And the reason it is not being sold to them is that agents can’t afford to sell the inexpensive term policies that are now available. At today’s low prices and commissions agents must sell 200 to 400 policies a year to make a reasonable living. Very few agents are capable of doing that and those that are won’t do it for very long. And working at that pace they certainly don’t have time to service what they have sold. If the industry is really serious about servicing the needs of middle income families, new compensation models for agents must be developed.
It’s the Little Things
I MUST SAY, I have enjoyed the change of pace which you bring compared to your predecessor; I find the personal touches injected in your Gamut pieces to be refreshing. But today while idly searching for something to occupy my time while in a doctor’s office and having read your magazine from cover to cover, I resorted to reading the fine print on a subscribe today card inserted in the copy. It’s the little things which say a lot. The part that caught my eye was a survey asking: Which of the following products do you sell? There was one mainstay product omitted–whole life. A little thing.
A couple of years ago, your magazine reported that life insurance sales were slipping to new lows–virtually every company reported lower sales. In the very last paragraphs of the article was an interesting observation: There were a few companies that reported gains in new insurance sales…seem to be all around a “niche” product–whole life. A little thing.