No Birth Control For You, part 2
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March 20th, 2012

No Birth Control For You, part 2

Discussion (11)¬

  1. Navin Kumar says:

    Funny, but puzzling.

    The burden for paying for contraceptives falls entirely on the employee.

    Insurance works like this: I, along with a hundred other people, pay a premium X on, say, our houses burning down. If our house doesn't burn down, all is well and we lose X. If it does, we get back the insured amount. If the probability of losing a house is 1/100, we get back 100X and the insurance company breaks even. (I greatly simplify – X is slightly greater than 1/100th the value of the house in order to cover profit, admin, wages etc)

    For a women though, contraceptives aren't like cancer or a burning house – the usage is entirely predictable. So the cost of the contraception is built into the premium (or more accurately, it's divided among people who don't use contraception – men, unfertile women, fertile women not using pills) which is then reduced against wages.

    Employers don't pay for insurance – employees do. Insurance is a (tax free) part of your compensation. Savings (and costs) do not fall on employers, but on employees.

    • bcmayes says:

      Not really sure what your point is. The employer most certainly incurs a cost for provision of health insurance (and other benefits) for its employees. If there were no cost to them, every employer would do it as a matter of course to keep the competition from having a leg up in attracting better employees.

      Even though an amount is taken out of the employees' paychecks for insurance coverage, that amount is nowhere near an actual premium an individual would pay. It also doesn't take into account the individual's age: the 55-year-old pays the same rate as the 25-year-old for the same coverage. The employer's costs, in part, make up for that difference so that the insurance company doesn't potentially lose money as the employees age, individually and as a group.

      As you note, employer-sponsored health insurance is part of compensation. The employer pays the costs of that compensation.

      • Darrin Bell says:

        You two seem to be in agreement, to me, and the difference is mostly semantic. You're both saying that health insurance is part of compensation. All compensation comes out of the pocket of the employer, but once given to the employee it belongs to the employee. Hence the notion that the employee is paying for her coverage (because the money the employer pays into the group health plan for the employee is akin to a payment to the employee, just in care of another recipient).

      • Navin Kumar says:

        I don't seem to be able to login to my wordpress account :/
        Anyway my reply is :
        what darrin said.
        If the employer doesn't pay for healthcare, eventually the compensation will come (in a competitive market) in another way – cash for example (although this will be taxed) which can then be used to buy the pills or more insurance.
        In the case of the 55 yo and 25 yo who pay the same (do they really?), it's NOT the company that's subsidizing the 55 yo. It's the 25 yo. This is true in any insurance scheme. Low risks subsidize high risks.

    • Zyada K says:

      "contraceptives aren't like cancer or a burning house – the usage is entirely predictable"

      I keep thinking of different ways to read this, none of which are accurate. So I'd appreciate some clarification.

      Not like cancer because it won't kill you? Neither will erectile dysfunction.
      Not like cancer because it is more common? Yes, but so are allergies.
      Not like cancer because it's not medically necessary? BC pills are often the first medicine (and second and third) medicine that OB/GYNs use to address most menstrual problems.
      Not like cancer because you can choose to not use BC? Even if not being used to treat a medical problem, using contraception is in the long run cheaper than not using contraception – a fact that would be blatantly obvious, except that most women will use contraception whether it's paid for or not.

      • Navin Kumar says:

        In the sense that it's more common, predictable and not financially crippling, yes.

        And I'd argue that if you took allergies (are they really that common) off the insurance scheme, it would have precious little effect on the compensation that employees receive (except that it removes the implict subsidization of those with allergies by those without). My comments about the employer not paying for contraceptive pills applies to any disease.

        If erectile dysfunction were common and employers were adverse to subsidizing it (for whatever ridiculous moral reason) I'd shrug to that as well. No skin off anyone's nose.

        If BC pills are used to treat some unpredictable disease than they ought to be provided as healthcare for that disease – as part of the contract.

        Remember that insurance is a bad idea for the same reason that extended warrant is a bad idea – you have to pay a vig of sorts to the company. It makes no sense except in cases where the payment is crippling. Insurance against a house fire is a good idea, insurance against a broken toaster not so much.

  2. Party Pooper says:

    Dear Darrin:

    Let's play a little game, shall we? I'll ofer two scenarios, and you tel lme which of them is true.

    1) Big Business is trying to stamp out women's access to birth control.

    2) Big Business donates tons of money to Planned Parenthood each year.

    Too easy? Try another. Which of the following statements is true:

    1) The Catholic Church is using all its power to force the Obama administration to outlaw contraception.

    2) The Obama administration is using all its power to force to Catholic Church to pay for contraception.

    This is fun! I could go on all day!

  3. Michael Ventrella says:

    Governor Nutter? Did Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia get a new job? (And yes, I've met him and he's a very nice man)