From Carpe Diem:
… Imagine if grocery shopping worked like health insurance. Let’s call it “food insurance.”
Now let’s imagine what actually shopping for groceries would look like.
Theoretically, insurance is about risk management. That’s why you can insure your car against unfortunate accidents, but not against the need for an oil change. This is also one reason why life insurance policies don’t cover suicide: your death has nothing to do with risk management if you choose to die.
So health insurance, which covers not only accidents but also routine care and sometimes elective procedures too, is not at all like real insurance.
So let’s say food insurance isn’t, either. Instead, your food insurance qualifies you to a specified number of visits to your local food provider. If you visit in-network food providers you pay only a small copay, but if you visit out-of-network food providers, you pay a higher copay. (If you have emergency munchies and need fast food, you pay an even higher copay to get prepared meals handed to you at a drive-thru.)
The important thing, however, is that you don’t actually pay for your food on a per-item basis. In fact, you don’t even know what it costs. When you walk into your primary foodcare provider, all of the items are there on the shelves, but there are no prices.