You may have heard about the teachers in Buffalo, New York who cost their district millions of dollars for botox injections, boob jobs, liposuction and other plastic surgeries that are 100-percent covered under their public employee health insurance plan. They’ve kept the benefits even as the district has had to nip-and-tuck its teaching staff.
But for most of us these days, our health insurance plans aren’t so flabby. As insurance costs have exploded, businesses have been forced into plans with higher and higher co-pays and steeper employee contributions. And good luck getting a decent plan on your own—that “affordable” policy you got a great deal on may be so full of loopholes that you could go the hospital with a heart attack and walk out facing bankruptcy.
Even the “Cadillac plans” enjoyed by corporate execs and bargained for by unions will become a rare commodity in the next five years. Under Obamacare, companies will have to pay a 40 percent tax on plans that cost more than $10,200, and are likely to phase them out.
But if you’re a person who worries a lot about all the things that could go wrong with your physical or mental health, there are still plenty of ways to insure yourself against any potential affliction, condition or accident that you can imagine—and which you’ll never get your regular health insurance to cover.
Alien Abduction, Impregnation and Consumption
Florida-based UFO Abduction & Casualty Insurance Company was the first firm to venture into alien territory, way back in 1987. Promoting itself with the tagline, “Beam me up…I’m covered!”, the company offers a $10 million policy for just $20 (or a last minute electronic version for $10, if an abduction is imminent). Benefits include medical, psychiatric and sarcasm coverage. A double-indemnity clause increases the payout to $20 million if the aliens insist on conjugal visits or refer to you as a “nutritional food source.” The only catch is that you must provide definitive proof of abduction and return (such as a transparent claw left behind).
Company founder Mike St. Lawrence says he has paid out at least two claims, and that actress Shirley MacLaine and a Harvard professor who has written on aliens count among the thousands he has insured. Even so, the company denies coverage to anyone who “takes this coverage seriously.”
In case you’re interested, St. Lawrence also sells reincarnation insurance to those who fear being reborn into a worse situation than their current one, and asteroid insurance, in case Earth is hit by a massive space rock and you live to tell the tale.
Werewolves in London
One might think that the esteemed Lloyd’s of London insurance marketplace, formed in 1690, would be too stuffy to dabble in the supernatural. Think again. Lloyd’s has gained a name for itself with bizarre “specialty lines” of one-off insurance policies sold through the companies who are members of its vast network. They have included:
A policy for a woman who planned to immaculately conceive a child.
Poltergeist insurance purchased by Suffolk’s Royal Falcon Hotel to protect guests from the ghost’s penchant for breaking glasses—or, presumably, scaring people out of their wits. Or even to death.
Policies protecting people from vampire bites, werewolf attacks and various other paranormal activities. They should probably add one for brain-eating zombies, given their popularity these days.
More Things that Bite—They Are Out There!
Further north on the same island, there are more things that bite. In 2005, organizers of Scotland’s biggest triathlon insured the 100 competitors for 1 million pounds each (about $1.5 million) in case of Loch Ness Monster bites.
The Guardian quoted David Hart, of insurer Nova International: “The competitors will all be very psyched up and very driven, so there’s going to be a lot of noise and a lot of splashing going on, just the sort of thing that might annoy a prehistoric lake monster. Or even worse, give it an appetite.”
Nonsense, said Loch Ness Monster Fan Club president Gary Campbell told the Guardian. Nessie would never. “Everyone knows she is friendly; she has been present in the loch for centuries and never hurt a soul in all that time.”
For those with a more practical approach, it is possible to insure yourself against bodily harm from real creatures. When President Obama visited Northern Australia, the Secret Service made sure he he had biting insurance against crocodile attacks. Too bad swashbuckling newspaper editor Phil Bronstein didn’t think of that before he got friendly with a Komodo dragon while barefoot.
Cover Your Backside
What else is insurance for, after all? Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez took that literally when she decided to protect her biggest—ahem—asset with a $27 million insurance policy. J-Lo’s curvaceous bottom is legendary, but it does make one wonder: under what circumstances could she collect?
But Lopez is hardly alone among celebs seeking financial protection for their body parts. According to internet scuttlebutt, famous insured anatomy includes legs (Heidi Klum, Rihanna), breasts (Dolly Parton, $300,000 each and Holly Madison, $500,000 each), smiles (America Ferrara, $10 million), voices, hands (Keith Richards) and semen (David Lee Roth, though that was probably a gross publicity stunt). Soccer superstar David Beckham insured his legs, feet and toes in a record-breaking $200 million policy—and in case that soccer thing didn’t work out, he also protected his photogenic mug from disfigurement.
Actually, the celeb body insurance biz is not even new: it dates back 100 years. Comedian Ben Turpin insured his eyes way back in the 1910s; classic stars Bette Davis followed suit with protection for her waist, while Jimmy Durante insured his nose.
Meanwhile, Back in Reality
Rest assured that for anything you want to insure, there’s someone who will sell you insurance. And the health insurance business has been something of a Wild West. Only time will tell whether the Affordable Care Act’s new health insurance marketplaces will be orderly and tamed. But at least the law requires that new policies must meet minimum standards for coverage, and cover essential benefits such as hospitalizations, prescription drugs, and childbirth.
If you want more than that, you’re on your own!
To learn more, visit Rocket Lawyer’s Affordable Care Act Center.