An Olympic Edition of Cavalcade of Risk #163

August 8th, 2012 by Julie Ferguson

pistorius_ap_imgWe’re delighted to be hosting the 163rd edition of Cavalcade of Risk, which coincides with the Olympic games – a fascinating case study in various aspects of risk. There are so many risk-related angles to this massive event, but none more compelling than the stories of individual athletes – see Oscar Pistorius and ‘the Dignity of Risk’ for one example.

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius competes in the 400-meter semifinals heat, Sunday, August 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Being insurance geeks, we can’t resist pointing to a few items related to risk management. For an overview of the challenges facing the biggest event in the world, see Will Jennings’ paper, London 2012: Olympic Risk, Risk Management, and Olymponomics. Despite the scale, some insurance professionals see this as an event much like any other. See Mark Ruquet’s story, Insuring the Olympics: Unique Locations, Number of Stakeholders Among Risks Industry Takes On
Continuing on the international theme
Global risks were on the mind of some of our Cavalcade contributors, too. Continuing on in the international theme, first up in this week’s edition is a post by Henry Stern of InsureBlog who reports that international commerce just got potentially riskier for insurers. He posts about congressional efforts to loosen up underwriting rules for insurers of folks doing business with Iran.
Russell Hutchinson at Chatswood Consulting — one of our international contributors based in New Zealand — reviews a medical insurers report on medical tourism and finds some big holes in the expected demand and looks at the reasons for them. One of the big reasons? “The cheaper the procedure the further you will have to fly to have it, and the higher the perception of risk around that trip.”
The risks of travel are not just a concern for medical tourists. Emily Holbrook of Risk Management Monitor posts about a recent study on the concerns of business travelers. Of those surveyed, 31% expressed concern for their personal safety, citing fears related to issues as broad ranging as terrorism and natural disasters to medical need while traveling.
And speaking of medical issues and risks related to travel, we point to our own entry, a post that focuses on travelers whose trips range a little further afield, astronauts and the medical oddities they experience in their extra-terrestial travels.
Health care: another issue theme
Medical care, healthcare, and associated risks seem to be the other great theme that is occupying a large percentage of the mindshare for many regular participants of the Cavalcade. With the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act behind us and the realities of implementation ahead, this concern is to be expected.
When it comes to risks, it doesn’t get any bigger than mortality. Healthcare Economist Jason Shafrin looks at a recent study on the effect that Medicaid health insurance has on mortality.
Louise Norris of Colorado Health Insurance Insider notes that for many Colorado residents, risk goes down as the Colorado Hospital Payment Assistance Act takes effect. The new law requires hospitals to charge uninsured patients earning less than 250% of FPL no more than the lowest negotiated price the hospital has with a private health insurance carrier. Hospitals must also post their financial assistance, charity care and payment plan information so that patients will be aware of the financial options.
At Disease Management Care Blog, Dr. Jaan Sidorov reviews a published study that explores the drivers behind a recent downturn in the amount of expensive “high dollar” medical imaging and finds the sum was greater than the parts. He argues there’s an important lesson here: if the U.S. is going to lower health care costs, it’s going to take multiple levers: there is no single solution.
David Williams of Health Business Blog notes that while neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail will stop the postman, health care costs might be the real killer. While USPS faces many challenges in Google, Facebook and email, none are more formidable than retiree health care costs.
Special note
Kudos to Henry Stern, who was recently honored in the National Underwriter’s 2012 Industry Elite Awards for his role in fostering Industry Awareness. We know him as “Hank,” the founder and ongoing leadership for Cavalcade of Risk and long-term “good blog citizen” at InsureBlog. He’s also a regular participant in Health Wonk Review, and an all-round nice guy.