Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On Vaccines and Health Insurance

Over the years, we haven't been afraid to express our doubts about the efficacy and/or safety of certain vaccination regimes, notably Gardisil and the various flu varieties. we've not, however, weighed in (in any substantive way) on the controversy over the potential correlation of MMR vaccination and autism. The one link I could find that even touched on this was from early 2009:

"Turns out that the doc who connected the dots between the MMR vaccine and childhood autism may have significantly fudged his numbers"

But there is a large segment of our society that does buy into this connection, and they're having an effect:

"Between 2009 and 2010, there were 3,502 cases of mumps among New York City’s Jewish community ...  in 2010, 9,210 children in California contracted whooping cough ... it’s just a matter of time before insurers seek subrogation for claims stemming from outbreaks directly tied to an unvaccinated person."

Here's the problem: your unvaccinated child comes to school and causes an outbreak of, say, whooping cough. Presumably, this won't include the kids who've been vaccinated, but those who haven't are going to have some insurance claims.

Who pays for this?

First, it helps to understand the concept of subrogation. It's really pretty simple:

"The right for an insurer to pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured. This is done as a means of recovering the amount of the claim paid to the insured for the loss."

Here's an example: you get bit by a dog and go the the ER, which bills your health insurance company for the shots, x-rays and stitches. Your health insurance carrier then goes after the dog's owner (or their homeowner's insurance carrier) for reimbursement.

How does this relate to non-vaccinated kids?

Well, take that example of the child who caused a whooping cough outbreak. Would the various health insurance carriers paying out for expensive tests and treatments like to find a source for reimbursement? You bet they would, and guess who's coming under those cross-hairs?

Now, how likely is it that there'll be a spate of these cases? Probably not very, at least not yet. But if this movement continues to grow, then it seems probable that carriers - always on the lookout to maximize returns - are going to be looking for additional opportunities.

We'll definitely be keeping our eyes on this one.
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