Culture of Fear

Do we live in a culture of fear?  Of course, the news shows all the disasters, all the time, 24/7.  They do seem to focus on the negative.  And we’ve all been educated on the concerns of drunk driving, drug usage, gang wars, kidnapping, global warming, terrorists, and so forth.

But think about this:

I recently did our taxes.  Yes, the IRS could be considered something fearsome, but wait a second, that’s not my point.  I also paid bills yesterday; again, scary procedure.  However, what I’m driving at is the correlation between the two.

We paid approximately 11% of our gross income last year on insurance – “just in case” something happened.  Maybe that’s a low figure, I don’t know, but it seems high to me.  It doesn’t include additional life insurance, so add another 5%. 

Let’s say a family earned the median income here in the US last year, about $70K.  Sixteen percent of that is paid out to insurers, or just over $11K.  Of course, taxes take up a big chunk too, but I’m not here to debate the IRS.  Suffice it to say, no one likes to pay Uncle Sam.  Period.  Sure, we get a lot in return – alright, some of you would argue that, but still….

Back to income versus “just in case”.  Sixteen percent may not seem like much, kind of low there on the percentage scale, but $11K?  Sounds like a lot to me.  That could be a new(er) car, almost a year’s worth of mortgage payments, or going out to a nice restaurant a couple times a week, all year long, Mom, Dad, and a couple kids.

Besides, what really should stop and make you think is this: if your median income is $70K, and you pay out $11K for “just in case”, that really makes your income more like $59K.  Well below that so-called median.

Why do we do this?  Why do we put up with it?  I’d really like to see some insurance company figures, based on averages of course.  How many folks actually use these benefits?  Of course, anyone with health insurance does, even if it’s just a few doctor visits each year.  And yes, at any time, “something” could happen, Lord knows we’re familiar with that.

But let’s say you’re 25 years old; you pay, and allow me to adjust a bit, slightly over $5K each year for insurance – based on median income for this age bracket of $32K.  You’re really, of course, making just $27K.  You’re 25, fairly healthy, what are the odds that you acquire a debilitating illness?  I’d really like to know.  You might go to a doctor once or twice a year.  That could cost around $200.  Not $5K.

So over the next 10 years, you’re paying $5K- $11K each year, and yes, your income has gone up.  On average, you’ve paid $80K for “just in case”.  Does this make you think at all?

How many people use catastrophic benefits?  What’s the percentage of those who pay so much money into the system who receive at least that amount in benefits?  How many receive more?  Or less?

I think the insurance companies owe us some answers.  In plain English, please.  Forget the healthCARE overhaul – let’s look at the big picture of cost-benefit.  To us, not the insurance companies.  Much like network news, they promote and promulgate disaster at every turn.


4 comments on “Culture of Fear

  1. Toril says:

    This is why I favor public health coverage covered through taxes. That way, you don’t pay an unproportionate amount of your income to cover health insurance, you don’t have to worry about getting sick, you don’t have to cut it out if financial times are harder, and we don’t have to wonder if our premiums are higher because all the for-profit companies want to make money even if many are treated for free, since they choose not to have health insurance.


  2. Thanks for the information! I personally really like your content. This is a great website. I will make sure that I stop back again!.


  3. At least he didn’t get arrested in Arizona. They have some of the most severe penalties in the US. Read about the penalties enforced under Arizona DUI law, not too pretty.


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