Page 5 - Financial Questions
- Why does cryonics cost so much?
- Is cryonics only for the rich?
- Why can't Alcor just bill for the service like a hospital does?
- How will the cost of resuscitation be met?
A: Contrary to the stereotype of just plopping people into liquid nitrogen, cryonics as practiced by Alcor is a highly complex procedure involving many people, expensive medical supplies, chemicals, and substantial long-term costs. The initial cryopreservation process itself costs Alcor tens of thousands of dollars. Remaining funds are allocated to the Patient Care Trust to fund long-term care. Alcor also budgets more conservatively for long-term care than other organizations, resulting in higher minimum funding requirements. For more information, read The Cost of Cryonics and the page about the Patient Care Trust.
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A: Despite the high cost of cryonics, the belief that cryonics is only for the rich is a myth. The cost of cryonics is similar to other complex medical procedures in wide use today, and like these procedures, cryonics is affordable by nearly everyone through insurance. The key, however, is having life insurance or other financial arrangements in place in advance of need. Most people could not afford heart surgery if suddenly faced with having to pay the full cost in cash. Cryonics is no different. The large sums required at the time of these procedures can be made affordable if appropriate steps are taken while one is still healthy.
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A: Alcor is still a small organization, and cryopreservations are very costly. Alcor cannot afford to carry six-figure accounts receivable. Life insurance is a more secure (for Alcor) and convenient (for members) form of funding that Alcor can closely monitor.
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A: While the technical magnitude of the problem of treating cryonics patients is enormous by today's standards, the future costs in terms of human effort and resource expenditure will probably be modest. Nanotechnology will be developed (and is being developed) to build better computers and waste-free industrial processes. Cell and tissue repair technology will be developed for medicine and agriculture. A day will come when configuring existing programmable cell repair devices for the specific problems of cryonics patients will probably require only moderate effort. The efforts required to ensure today's patients reach that day will be greater by far, and they represent the true challenge of cryonics.
Alcor's Patient Care Trust uses the power of long-term compounded investment earnings with the intent of achieving growth eventually sufficient to revive all of Alcor's patients. (From 1950-2009 the S&P 500 had an inflation adjusted return of 7%). The Patient Care Trust assets are reported regularly on the Alcor website.
In addition, the costs of information-based technology are predicted to drop dramatically (see The Law of Accelerating Returns). Restoring cryopreserved humans is an information-intensive task, and will benefit from such decline in costs.
Either trend would be sufficient by itself. Both trends taken together provide greater confidence that the costs of reviving the patients in cryopreservation can be met.
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