Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Health Nut Insurance

One of the less fun aspect of not working for a paycheck is that you need to (and you should) find medical insurance for yourself and your family.

My former employer LinkedIn do offer some great plans under COBRA, but when you actually have to pay for all of it yourself, it is - uh - pricey.

So I looked around for alternatives and no surprise, as an individual buyer, your options are limited, and the prices are even less attractive!

I thought there might be some ways to join (or form) a non-employment based group to gain group bargaining power with those mighty insurance companies, and even asked a question related to that on Quora - see http://www.quora.com/Medicine-and-Healthcare/How-can-I-join-start-a-Non-Employment-Group-Health-Insurance

I got a few views, but no answers, yet.

This got me thinking, and the idea of Health Nut Insurance is formed.  The gist:

  • It is a regular insurance plan (e.g. PPO, say 70% co-insurance, low deductible, low copay...) that anyone should be allowed to buy in, even with questionable health, and the starting premium will be HIGH, say $1000 per individual per month (but hear me out...)
  • subscribers can then "earn" kickbacks or discounts for their monthly premium based on verifiable healthy behaviors captured with some bio-metric gizmo (wristband + bathroom scale + pee sampler?) connected to your smart phone - you do have one of those don't you? For example:
  • Every mile you run you earn $5
  • Every 5 mile you ride your bicycle you earn $5
  • Every 10 minute you swim you earn $5
  • Every 10 minute you do Yoga or Taichi or meditate you get $5
  • Every day you weigh in and show that you are maintaining your weight, or safely lose some if you are a little overweight like me,  or safely gain some if you are a little underweight like some skinny ex-super model or recovering patient, you get $5
  • If you are overweight, skip a meal to earn $5 (up-to say 3 times a week)
  • If you maintain ample and regular sleep you get $5 per week
  • ... so on and so forth ...
So with healthy life style you can cut your monthly premium to affordable level, like $100 per month, while having a great health insurance plan.

There is MORE...
  • If you drink alcohol, ingest 5 cups of coffee per day, take questionable substance, as captured by highly encouraged weekly pee sample data, your premium goes UP! 
  • If you do nothing or didn't bother to gather and send bio-metric data, every month you will be reminded with high insurance premium
  • If you miss your mandatory annual check up you might even lose your coverage.  
Wait, there is EVEN MORE!
  • You get to brag about your great achievements on social media Facebook, Twitter, Google+

This way, reasonably healthy and responsible people get to enjoy affordable high quality coverage, and the pool grows bigger and healthier as a result!

I am not sure if this is acceptable under current laws, but I think it is worth a blog post...


  1. Sounds like a video game... great idea, Brian!

  2. You got to pay for each verification event. e.g. the pee sample ones will be quite costly. Also the insurance company has to write apps to work with iOS and Android. You bear the cost, of course. How will that change your equation?

  3. Friends! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Would you buy into this insurance?

  4. MLM like scheme with guaranteed returns for every positive action? Why not? That's motivation.

    1. MLM... that gave me another idea...

      How about getting kick backs when you find someone to:

      * join this insurance (increase pool size, good for all)
      * exercise with you (positive social interaction, enforceable by biometrics, so extra bonus!)

    2. Sounds Win-Win!

      Money in > exercise promotes health > group activity promotes diligence, reduce procrastination > less sickness increase insurance pool size > more fund for real sickness

      Totally worth it for a measly buy in of $1k.

      One thing, one must join WITH prove of health; hypochondriac is a no no.

  5. This is a good idea for a diligent person, not for a layback, I guess. It's hard to keep up with so many facets of the daily routines.

    Find a government job to get your medical insurance.

    - george

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