The Value of Health Insurance

By Cory Bilton

Stethescope

Open enrollment in the new health insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) begins on October 1st.  Since there are roughly 48 million people currently without health insurance in the US, this means that a lot of people will be using the new exchanges.  When buying health insurance, some people wonder what exactly is the benefit of having coverage.  There are the advertised benefits that seem pretty straightforward.  For example, that the plan covers 80% of your health care expenses, or that you have a $500 deductible, or that you have a $5,000 cap on annual out-of-pocket expenses.  But one of the biggest benefits of health insurance is one that is rarely ever discussed: the negotiated price for doctor’s and hospital’s services.

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Distractions from Mobile Electronics: Your Attention is a Scarce Resource

By Cory Bilton

Texting while driving

I read an article this week discussing the “I Forgot My Phone” video on YouTube.  For the always-connected folks in the DC area, this is a somber video that seems to be ribbing and admonishing us about our relationship with smartphones.  While the video portrayed people using smartphones in relatively safe places like restaurants, parks, beaches, and bowling alleys, using a smartphone while moving presents a unique danger.  Pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists often use portable electronics, and this can quickly lead to getting completely lost in one’s own world while on-the-go.  Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving has become such a problem that many states have enacted laws prohibiting or limiting the use of a cell phone while driving (DC, Maryland, and Virginia all have).   While tapping away on a smartphone, I’ve seen people walk into street signs, trip over curbs, walk directly into other people, and cross a street without the right-of-way, directly in front of traffic.  I’ve seen a jogger with music cranked up so loud through his ear buds that he could not hear me yell, “On your left!” as I tried to pass.  I’m sure everyone has witnessed similar events.

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