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Episode 66

Does Health Insurance Make You Healthier?

It’s a surprisingly hard question to answer. Bapu talks with a health economist about a natural experiment that led to some unexpected findings….

Episode 437

Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t.

…reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely?…

Are We Heading Toward a Reinsurance Bubble?

…“captive reinsurance” rather than “shadow insurance.” As MetLife puts it: “Captive reinsurance is a cost-effective way of addressing overly conservative reserving requirements.” As of this writing, at least on my…




Paying Less … Without Health Insurance

…ignore his “low-cost ‘indemnity’ type of health insurance policy.” The patient’s estimated costs had he used his health insurance plan: approximately $20,000 (out of the estimated hospital charge of $23,000)….





Do You Need "Disgrace Insurance"?

Celebrity endorsements are all well and good … until the celebrity starts misbehaving. That’s where the insurance companies come in. Insurance brokers report a growing interest in “disgrace insurance,” which…



Who Steals Healthcare Insurance?

What happens when a firm starts a “dependent verification” program designed to make sure that its employees are carrying only legitimate dependents on their health insurance? The economists Michael Geruso…



FREAK Shots: How's Your Riot Insurance?

…won’t be seeing similar insurance pitches in the U.S., though maybe London could use them. Markl wonders why another type of insurance isn’t offered in the U.S. by now: the…



Getting Fat? Maybe It's Your Health Insurance

A new N.B.E.R. working paper finds a link between health insurance and obesity, and suggests that the better insured you are, the fatter you’re likely to be. We already knew…



Episode 82

Please Steal My Car

Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about junk food, insurance, and how to make an economist happy.

Airlines and Opting Ethics

…for trip insurance, or pre-checking a life-insurance policy in case the plane crashes? What does the trip insurance actually give you that you don’t already have? The Access America policy…



Episode 457

Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All?

Kidney failure is such a catastrophic (and expensive) disease that Medicare covers treatment for anyone, regardless of age. Since Medicare reimbursement rates are fairly low, the dialysis industry had to…

Episode 456

How to Fix the Hot Mess of U.S. Healthcare

Medicine has evolved from a calling into an industry, adept at dispensing procedures and pills (and gigantic bills), but less good at actual health. Most reformers call for big, bold…

Suze Orman Answers Your Money Questions

…own, rather than doing it through a life insurance policy. The bottom line is that you end up paying a lot for that investment component in an insurance policy. I’d…



Episode 382

How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution?

An all-star team of behavioral scientists discovers that humans are stubborn (and lazy, and sometimes dumber than dogs). We also hear about binge drinking, humblebragging, and regrets. Recorded live in…




Episode 174

What Do King Solomon and David Lee Roth Have in Common?

It isn’t easy to separate the guilty from the innocent, but a clever bit of game theory can help.

Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: Not-So-Free Ride

…pollution, carbon emissions, congestion, accidents — and how one new strategy may be able to help: pay-as-you-drive (P.A.Y.D.) auto insurance. The strange truth is that most auto insurance in the…



Never Pay a Speeding Ticket Again?

insurance company. It is an auto club. Mere characterization should not be sufficient to avoid the application of common sense requirements for the provision of insurance. But speeders beware before…




Episode 49

How Does Facing Death Change Your Life?

Also: why are we so bad at assessing risk?…

Episode 217

Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?

We spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?

Episode 423

The Doctor Will Zoom You Now

Thanks to the pandemic, the telehealth revolution we’ve been promised for decades has finally arrived. Will it stick? Will it cut costs — and improve outcomes? We ring up two…


Episode 298

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)

The bad news: Roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: All the important stuff can fit on one index card. Here’s how to become your own…

Episode 217

Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset? (Replay)

The gist: we spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?