Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An Arm or a Leg?

The problem with most insurance plans is that you, the insured, in order to end up being paid out large sums of cash, have to drop dead. Since dropping dead runs contrary to my goals in life, I have yet to receive large sums of cash from any companies that have insured me.

I mean, let’s face it, insurance companies are happy to reimburse for approved out-of-pocket expenses, or issue payment directly to a third party (hospital, mechanic, tattoo removal parlor) to cover outrageously costly procedures, but there’s no incentive behind any of that. No net profit for the insured. No money to be pocketed by the enterprisingly unwell.

All that might change soon for me, however, with the arrival of a new, and surprisingly versatile, accidental death and dismemberment plan. The death part doesn’t interest me, but that bit about dismemberment shouldn’t be too easily dismissed. I don’t want to give the impression of being a man who plays the system, but the way this plan is presented appears to invite at least the consideration of which body parts might be the most superfluous.

Along with death, there are a few payout options we can immediately rule out, such as quadriplegia and coma. What’s the point in making the sacrifice for 100% payout of benefits if I’m permanently unconscious or unable to grab a wad of bills and wave it in people’s faces? Besides, I never was a big Who fan.

I also prefer to put aside complete loss of hearing and sight, since some of that insurance money will go toward a state-of-the-art entertainment center and theatre room. I’m willing to compromise a bit on stereo hearing and depth perception, but total loss of both senses will completely negate the value of the hi-definition plasma screen and the booming surround sound system. Loss of sight in one eye gets me a half payout, which for some reason is the same amount I’d get for total loss of hearing, which doesn’t really seem fair, but let’s not jump ahead without further investigating other options for a full payout.

For instance, if I’m willing to lose an appendage or two, my senses don’t necessarily need to be compromised. Loss of two or more hands and/or feet pays in full. So does the loss of either a foot or a hand, but only if combined with the loss of sight in one eye. This is where the insurance company’s schedule of covered losses devolves into a rather morbid a la carte menu.

If quadriplegia isn’t for me, then maybe paraplegia is. It pays out 75%, which isn’t bad and is a significantly better score than uniplegia (25%) and hemiplegia (50% again unfair – half a body is half a body, right?)

Or, how about the loss of only one hand or foot for 50%? Maybe.

Loss of thumb and index finger of the same hand for 50%? Possible.

Loss of speech for 50%? I doubt the world would be any much worse off if I couldn’t sing in church anymore.

Perhaps I should start small to test the waters. For 20% pay out I could give up all toes on the same foot, which might make it tough to balance properly, but if the entertainment center is truly state-of-the-art then I probably won’t have to worry too much about standing.

2014 Mark Feggeler

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