Managing Risk, Part 2 – Health Insurance vs Vegas

Last time I discussed the different ways people view risk.

Specifically, how most Americans wouldn’t think twice about taking $5,000 into a Vegas casino, but cringe at the thought of “risking” anything more than a few hundred dollars on a health insurance deductible.

Amazing. It reminds me of an old joke:

What do you call a health insurance plan with a $5,000 deductible? Terrible.

“I might as well not even have health insurance,” say most people when I bring this up. That’s what the majority of Americans believe, because they’ve been trained to. By those nice, thoughtful, caring companies who now have the federal government behind them, mandating that you have to buy their product.

Never in the history of this nation has an industry so thoroughly, so utterly duped the population. I digress…

Back to my point. There are a few MAJOR differences between a health insurance policy and a trip to Vegas.

First, I may not be a gambling man, but I’d be willing to bet that anyone who goes to a Vegas casino with $5,000 to gamble will come back home with somewhat shy of – $5,000 in their pocket. But with a health insurance deductible, the risk of spending $5,000 in any given year is pretty dang slim. Unless you have a pet cobra.

The second difference involves time: a $5,000 health insurance deductible gives you a full year, spread out over 365 days, of exposure to health care costs. Which is significant, because most folks who are healthy and only go to the doctor 2.3 times a year, will never come close to spending $5,000 out of pocket in any given trip around the Sun. Now in Vegas on the other hand, I don’t know about anyone else but I could blow through $5,000 in a few spins of the roulette wheel.

The last and most significant difference between a memorable Vegas trip and a health insurance policy is the fact that it will cost you nothing – aside from however much of that $5,000 you’re willing to part with –  to walk into your favorite casino, lay your money down and kiss it goodbye.

But when it comes to health insurance policies, the price to play can be enormous indeed. Because you’re paying an insurance company to take the gamble for you – the less you’re willing to risk, the more you will have to pay.


It’s not the COSTS of health care that are outrageous…it’s the CHARGES.

Physician. Health Insurance Agent. Author. Health care humorist. Medical satirist. Disruptor. At your service. My name is Kevin Wacasey, and I’ve been practicing medicine since 1994. When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath to do no harm to my patients. To me, that includes financial harm. But since health insurance took over health care over 40 years ago, health care prices have skyrocketed. And despite what we’re told by the media every day, it isn’t the costs of health care that are outrageous; it’s the charges. So if you’ve ever wondered why we spend so much on health insurance and health care, then come along and join me as I explore the crazy world of Healthcareonomics. Health care doesn’t have to be expensive. Let me show you how. For speaking opportunities and to pass along your questions/comments, please email me at

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