Maybe what insurers and insurance producers really need is to figure out how to hire computer game makers to develop a computer game “app” that would, through some subtle but completely legal means, rewire the players’ brains.
The terms of service would state, openly, in bold, italic type, that the game would, while exposing the player to iridescent squares or angry mice, persuade the players that they were, in fact, mortal, fallible, and vulnerable to all of the ills that beset other, lesser individuals.
Maybe health insurance producers could start by offering the app to self-employed individuals.
The survey team at Gallup recently polled 6,896 self-employed business owners and found that they a healthy, hardy bunch of people.
They were about 20 percent to 25 percent less likely than ordinary mortals to admit to suffering from plebian conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes, and they were also 2.5 times as likely to be uninsured. They were about 30 percent more likely to report having trouble being able to afford health care or medicine.
Of course, some uninsured entrepreneurs would say, honestly and accurately, that they lack health coverage either because the premiums in their communities are truly unaffordable, or because they have health problems that make buying conventional health coverage difficult or impossible.
But many entrepreneurs are tough people who are accustomed to muscling their way through problems that would stop regular folks.
I encountered this situation shortly after Sandy hit my area, when I talked to a man — let’s call him John Doe — who kept the flood water out of his basement by, basically, glaring at it. (Or, more precisely: By pumping it out with a small pump powered by a car battery and sticking putty in cracks in the walls wherever water started to seep in.)
I suggested that he ought to consider getting flood insurance, just in case the car battery pump, or his ability to glare, conked out the next time a hurricane came along.
He looked at me scornfully and said, “I’m my own insurance.”
On the one hand: Yes. Obviously.
Some economists have suggested that the idea that “I’m my own health insurance,” and the self-protecting activities related to that attitude, can actually be considered to be a form of health insurance.
On the other hand: The whole point of buying properly underwritten, reasonably priced insurance is that even Superman might occasionally run into a condition (Kryptonosis of the lungs?) that could challenge his ability to keep himself in top super shape completely on his own.
On the third hand: How do you get people who sneer at hurricanes to acknowledge that things happen?
If apps aren’t the answer, what then? Subliminal messages flashed on monitors by power tool displays?