Tuesday, May 5, 2015

where can I buy insurance?!

I have terrible teeth. Every single year since the beginning of grad school I've both maxed out my coverage and put off major dental work in order to get at least part of it covered the next year. I've lost count of how many fillings I currently have that I've been told "hopefully this'll get you through a couple years, but you really need a crown."

So, I of course want good dental insurance. I'm a good economist though and am not terribly liquidity constrained, so 1) I don't want insurance for the smaller common expenses that I can afford, like cleanings and fillings (or product warranties or renter's or vision or vet insurance). I self-insure for those things by maintaining a savings account. And 2) I only want good insurance because I have private information indicating that I'm a terrible bet for an insurance company.

But I can't buy it! The only dental insurance available that I can find is the opposite of what insurance should be. It covers the first, e.g., $500 of dental expenses per year, and then you're on your own. I want a policy that won't cover the first $500, but will cover any unexpected disasters that push me over that limit. I don't care whether it's an Australian or American company as long as I'm covered in Australia. (No, Australian medicare doesn't cover dental.)

Help? And why don't these policies exist?? I know health care is just about the biggest mess imaginable, but my TANSTAAFL sensibilities are tingling uncontrollably. Why are these mutually beneficial trade opportunities left on the table? Or, what is preventing these trade opportunities from being mutually beneficial, and how can I get around it?*

*I know I just said I'm looking for this kind of insurance because I'm pretty sure it'll be a good deal for me even in a nearly expected utility sense, therefore likely making me a bad deal for an insurance company, but I think I'm on the end of a spectrum there. I'd expect policies to be available that serve the rest of the population.

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