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MSA Insurance on the Way?

Hello, dear readers!  Another weekend is over, and it’s time to roll up our sleeves and face the monsters and demons that await us in Complandia.  Your humble blogger had occasion this weekend to swing by Bob’s Cluttered Desk, and swipe a bit of interesting information from that busy piece of furniture.

Mr. Wilson reports that in the next few weeks, we can expect to see a new product on the shelves in Comporium stores everywhere: MSA insurance.  Basically, this product would purport to serve as a modern-day handshake and reputation: when a Medicare Set-aside Analysis report recommends a certain sum be set aside for future medical care, purportedly enough to appease the vengeful federal deity Medicare, any future action by Medicare to litigate the question of adequacy will be paid, adjusted, and/or litigated by the insurer.

Let that sink in – an employer or insurer will be able to settle cases without the risk and uncertainty (in Complandia, we call that “expense”) of the federal government coming back against them for “shifting the burden” of medical expense.

The process by which a settlement gets approved now is slow and expensive.  For C&Rs under $25,000, we just have to hope and pray, because the CMS will not bother reviewing the settlement, although conceivably, they can come back and start trouble down the line.

But, let this sink in as well:  the federal government, through a byzantine system riddled with delay, uncertainty, and vagaries, has created a need for this product.  In other words, because of the inefficiencies and meddling of the federal government, one way or another, everything is more expensive.  Every purchase you make in the store goes towards a business’s bottom line, which must in turn pay to insure, self-insure, or group-insure.

In other words, picture your humble blogger opening up his bakery in your local neighborhood.  The baked goods are delicious, the prices are low, and the venture looks very promising.  Then, one morning, in walks a burly man with two companions, dressed in the finest suits.  “This is a really nice place you got here, Mr. Greg.  It would be such a shame if something horrible happened to it.  Why don’t you let us sell you some ‘insurance.’  After all, who knows what might happen?”

So, I can either pay for the ‘insurance’ and raise my prices (or lower the quality of my delicious baked goods), or spend my days wondering when this ‘insurance’ salesman is going to have my windows smashed or my cashiers robbed.

Whether you buy the insurance or take your chances, everything is more expensive because of the way CMS goes about its business.  It’s great to have this service available, but wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t need it in the first place?  Now, if you’ll excuse me, your humble blogger will go back to making dough.

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