I was listening to a podcast by Steven Dubner, the co-author of the book, Freakonomics (no surprisingly, one of my personal favourites)
In the podcast, he discussed about this interesting idea of a Golden Sunset insurance.
The proposed Golden Sunset insurance is basically a healthcare insurance with a twist.
The twist is that when a patient is diagnosed to have a terminal illness, the insurer will present him with two choices
(A) He may to proceed with medical treatment which the insurer will pay for. Of course, this is the usual practice.
(B) Alternatively he may choose to receive a lump sum cash payment which he is free to do anything with it. The insurer actuarial will calculate the amount that they are expected to pay in medical bill in option A and give a percentage (80% ?) of the amount to the patient.
Just let it sink in your head for a while.
It is a pretty revolutionary idea.
Even the brain behind the idea admitted that it is unpalatable and a potential public-relation nightmare.
Not to mention it may be illegal and/or immoral.
Beyond the complexities, I believe that the idea does have merits.
Personally, I had experienced my own grandparent who had dementia and bedridden for years before the eventual passing.
Thus, this is very real to me.
Sometimes I think I will rather just pass on, than to live a subnormal, painful life.
I shall like to highlight that this is not euthanasia ? there is no deliberately ending of life.
Modern medical advances are extending natural life and the Golden Sunset proposal is to let natural life run its course.
How do Golden Sunset insurance actually benefit the patient ?
Firstly, the lump sum payment allows the patient to do the following
1) Seek alternative medicine that insurer will not pay
2) Bequest an inheritance for the family
3) Go on a final family trip.
Basically the options are limitless for the patient to do what he desires.
Therefore, the patient is able to improve his quality of life, instead of spending to increase the quantity of life.
Other ancillary benefits will include overall reduction in medical expenses for the insurers, which hopefully means that healthcare insurance premium will go down.
The already over-extended hospitals in Singapore will be able to provide more beds and more attention to those who have a fighting chance.
The family members of the patient will not be placed into a difficult situation as the patient has made the decision for himself.
Having said all the positives, it is hard to envision Golden Sunset to launch any soon, given the myriad of reasons highlighted in the Freakonomics podcast.
Nevertheless, do take a look and you may find many refreshing takes on insurance, healthcare and end-of-life.
I just want to leave you with rather thought-invoking parting statement from the idea originator, Tim Price.
Your life is yours, but it’s a little bit belongs to everybody you interact with.
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