The Oxford describes insurance as a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.
Health insurance would ensure you against getting sick.
I already knew that in fact Australian health insurance pays for routine bills, even in some cases gym shoes.
But I had at least assumed it paid out when things got bad, like fire insurance does in the case of a fire.
Here's an extract from the excellent Background Briefing repeated on Sunday.
Michael Forbes is a former triathlete and AFL umpire.
Michael Forbes: My memories are of the approach vehicle from behind. As it approached and just started to go past me, I realised we were too close, both I was too close to the truck and he was too close to me, and just as the truck got to - well it was almost past me, and it just clipped my right arm and took it off the handlebars. At that stage I only have memory of sheer right, and I do not remember the impact with the four-wheel drive. But that's where I was found.
Di Martin: Tell us about your injuries?
Michael Forbes: I broke my neck. I am now a C4 level quadriplegic and confined obviously to a wheelchair. I am unable to work at this stage, and I now need to sleep about ten hours a day and I do what I can with my family to participate and help out, but essentially my hands don't work, my arms don't work well enough to cook, to clean, to really participate in the home.
Di Martin: Michael Forbes' experience exposes some glaring holes in insurance available to cyclists. At the time of his accident Michael Forbes had full private health cover. But he has what they call in the insurance game 'catastrophic injuries'. The policy fine print says the insurer doesn't have to pay.
Michael Forbes: They won't touch it because it's just far too expensive and detrimental and too difficult to cover. So I had to go through the public health system, even though I was fully covered under private health insurance.
Di Martin: Michael Forbes now needs 24-hour care, and a raft of medical supplies that are not covered as a public patient. They cost more than $230,000 a year, and without private cover he would have to pay out of his own pocket.
There were no witnesses to Michael Forbes' accident, so he had to prove that a registered vehicle was involved to be covered by the truck's no-fault accident insurance.
Why the hell is government policy supporting pseudo-insurance?
And another thing...
All this talk from Swan and others about the Private Health Insurance Rebate being a health measure is crap.
Most of it is pocketed by people who would have been insured anyway. It is a payment to the (predominantly) better off.
Just like Labor's stupid Education Tax Refund. By all means pay money to people with books and computers in their homes if you want. But most of them would have had them in their homes anyway. Don't pretend your putting money into education.
Even leading journalists get trapped.
Try Emma Alberici's "MBF, like all the other [health fund]s, gets 30 per cent of their income from the government"
No it doesn't. Most of the money goes into the pockets of people who were already insured.
Sorry. I meant people who "thought they were insured".
End of rant.
. Tuesday Column: Why Labor stands for next to nothing
. Ignore the private health insurance guilt merchants
. Tax breaks cost what???