Trevor is a hypothetical 11-year-old. If he’s like 11-year-olds in my area, he’s gotten a whiff of financial literacy from school and computer games.
The school has given him a chance to spend his money to buy lunch, bake sale items and books. It’s also given him a job running an in-school post office.
Computer games have given him additional experience in simulations that let him work as a baker, a farmer, a tailgunner and a spy. So far, though, he doesn’t seem to have picked up any insurance literacy.
When he dies in a game, he comes back to life because that’s how the game worked, not because of insurance.
When he plays farmer games, he has to worry about planting the seeds and harvesting the crops, but not about paying the crop insurance premiums.
His parents have tried to explain what insurance is and how it works, but why should a kid believe anything that comes only from his parents? Why would a kid trust those boring old people to know how the world works?
One result is that many Americans reach adulthood, or even seats on congressional committees that oversee federal health programs, with only a hazy idea about the difference between a pre-existing condition exclusion in a health insurance policy and medical underwriting.
About 7.5% of consumers are so utterly lost they think a health plan deductible is the total amount of medical expenses the plan will cover each year.