Remember the promise of universal health care with Obamacare, with no refusal for ‘pre-existing conditions’? It looks like your insurance company may not have to cover you if you get Ebola. U.S. and British insurance companies have begun writing Ebola exclusions into standard policies to cover hospitals, event organizers, and other businesses vulnerable to local disruptions.
While it is estimated that expenditures to treat the original Dallas Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, were approximately $100,000 an hour (though he passed anyway), it looks like insurance companies won’t be footing the bill.
President Obama originally refused to set up travel restrictions in and out of West Africa, too, even though the governments latest scare tactics and the CDC’s ineptitude have resulted in insurance companies creating new policies which exclude Ebola care. Renewals will also become costlier for companies opting to insure business travel to West Africa or to cover the risk of losses from quarantine shutdowns at home.
Gary Flynn, an event cancellation broker at Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc in London said:
“What underwriters are doing at the moment is they’re generally providing quotes either excluding or including Ebola – and it’s much more expensive if Ebola is included.”
While Ebola has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa and less than a dozen in the US, the arrival of a few isolated cases here in the states has insurance companies looking to shirk coverage responsibilities. As usual – its all about the bottom line.
Though liability insurance policies and workers’ compensation which covers medical care and lost time from work are unlikely to be affected if someone falls ill from Ebola since these policies are regulated at a state level, some property and casualty insurers, however, are considering Ebola before writing or renewing policies.
ACE Ltd said on Wednesday that its global casualty unit, which offers coverage for U.S.-based companies whose employees travel or that have operations abroad, was using a policy endorsement to exclude Ebola on a “case-by-case basis” during the underwriting process on new policies and renewals.
Numerous insurance companies say that clients who travel to African countries comprise a “potentially higher risk exposure” and want to change their policies to reflect that.
The U.S. government just announced last Tuesday that travelers arriving from any of the three centers of the outbreak, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea, must fly into one of five airports that have enhanced screening in place. Britain is also screening arriving air and rail travelers.
I guess the medical mafia has more sway than U.S. voters. Obamacare caused health insurance premiums to rise for many, and now the Ebola scare is likely to do the same thing. It’s a great time to run a pharmaceutical or insurance company in America – ain’t it?
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.