If NASA ever sends remote-controlled probes toward Alpha Centauri, it should hire U.S. state health insurance rate-review actuaries to work the controls.
Just getting radio signals from Earth to a point half-way between the Sun and Alpha Centauri would take about two years.
Fortunately, the people who set and review U.S. individual major medical rate filings already have a lot of experience with critical communication delays of two years or more.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) has required insurers to set rates for 2014, 2015 and, now, 2016 with minimal information about how the new PPACA medical underwriting restrictions, premium subsidy program and marketing programs would affect the risk pool, and no information about how the PPACA “three R’s” risk-management programs will really work.
PPACA public exchange designers held a never-ending series of public hearings on what public exchange logos should look like, whether Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (SBCs) should be available in Navajo, and how many languages a state-based exchange ought to offer consumers who call its call centers.
But talking, in public, in detail, about how exactly the policies sold on and off the exchanges would work, and whether the insurers issuing the policies would remain solvent? Eh. Why would anyone bother with that? The grim truth is that even many readers of this site are more likely to click on 10 links to more information about what color socks will make your shoes look best than to read an article about the three R’s.
Of course, on the one hand, we usually muddle through. The sky usually hasn’t fallen before, and it probably won’t this time. The major medical insurers that really want to stay in the game will probably stay in the game, and profit margins will go through the usual ups and downs.