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I don't get it

So, according to the Press of Atlantic City, the AP, and the New York Times, Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey will pay his own medical costs stemming from a car accident. Gov. Corzine is, of course, immensely rich, and as governor is covered under state insurance.

None of the stories I have seen have indicated whether the state employees are covered under a private insurance plan, such as Blue Cross or AmeriHealth or Cigna or Oxford, all of whom are linked from the state’s insurance page, or whether the state self-insures its employees. If the state insures its employees with a private insurer, and has been paying premiums for Gov. Corzine, then surely his decision to pay his own way does not save the state any money at all, but saves the insurance company hundreds of thousands of dollars that they are obliged, legally and morally, to pay. If the state self-insures, then the question is what sort of plan Gov. Corzine had chosen. If he chose an HMO plan, then again the maintenance organization has been accepting money, month by month, against the chance that the Governor would need care, and it should not cost the state any money (other than deductibles, for which the employee is usually on the hook) now. So the only way that the state would be on the hook for his medical care costs would be if (a) they self-insured, and (2) the Governor chose a “traditional plan” (as it’s called in their state health benefits summary program description (pdf link)).

Perhaps that’s the case. Perhaps the state has a fund, collected from itself (that is, transferred from various departments), from which it pays out insurance claims, and that fund would be depleted somewhat by the hundreds of thousands of dollars Gov. Corzine’s care requires. If that’s the case—and the news reports aren’t telling me that’s the case—then New Jersey has a very bad health care plan for its employees, and the news is not that its wealthy Governor is helping out, but that its wealthy Governor has not fixed it.

[a bit later]Well, I clicked around, and I was able to find out that the “traditional plan” is managed by Blue Cross, so the above paragraph is no longer operative. But, in fact, when Gov. Corzine is paying his expenses out of pocket, the benefit goes to Blue Cross, not to the State of New Jersey. Or to an HMO, if that’s who’s been getting the premiums.

Of course, indirectly, you might argue that any claim on the insurance increases the total cost to the state. But that’s what the insurance company is for. The insurance company is not supposed to simply be a holding company that passes all the costs of a given year back to the insured. It’s supposed to insure the insured against the possibility that they will need more money than they put in. Again, if Blue Cross (or, indeed, any HMO that he might have signed up with, since we don’t know) is going to take a car crash as a reason to up everybody’s premiums, then New Jersey has a very bad health care plan for its employees, and the Governor is responsible.

So what the hell is he doing?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Showing off how rich he is?

(I should note that I have a rotten headache, which makes me a little more cynical than usual.)

I would guess he was hoping sharp-eyed people like you wouldn't call him on this, and that he was hoping that the average media outlet (and reader) would say "oh, wow, so our governor was an idiot for not wearing his seat belt, but he's making amends for it, so it's ok".

i wonder how long it will take to belt people in buses and limos. there's already some pressure to belt them in minibuses.

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