The Big Think

September 15, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:45 pm

Not normally a blog topic for me but I thought I’d post a few thoughts. Today we received notice that our insurance was going up- by 20%. This extra money has to come from somewhere and this amount represents approximately 25% of our monthly grocery budget. I see the end part of a self-fulfilling problem coming: namely, that those who cannot afford health insurance have to choose between must have items (heat, housing, food) and should-have items (insurance). Well, the choice is obvious, but when many people have to give up insurance and then get sick, they have to throw themselves onto an already creaking health care infrastructure and beg for mercy- which does get granted, but only at the cost of higher premiums for those who are still paying.. eventually we’ll all be without insurance because only Bill Gates and Mr. Burns can afford the premiums.

Infuriatingly, Austin just passed a resolution to add a tax on our property tax to help pay the county hospital when they cover uninsured patients. Message sent: drop your insurance and you’ll still get treatment.

I suspect that our insurance company raised our rates due to some recent doctors visits. I know, it’s illegal to selectively raise rates, but how the heck are we going to prove it? Anyway, the timing is suspicious. Keep in mind that we paid for all of our doctor visits out of pocket and occasionally even went with the lower “don’t file with the insurance company” rates. We’ve never been late with a premium and we’ve never once taken money back out of the system. In any given year, even after all our bills, only a few hundred dollars gets applied to our yearly insurance deductible. The insurance company has some arcane formula to determine what is an allowable expense (applies to our premium), and what’s not. At this rate, our true out of pocket costs every year would far exceed what they claim is our deductible. It’s maddening because, like many people, we sometimes delay going to the doctor’s office due to costs. Well, the insurance company has now reached down and claimed another sizable chunk of our income -but hasn’t changed our benefits or lowered our deductible. Think that’ll make us want to visit the doctor more? Neither do we. So we start looking for other insurance options soon.

If we ever won the lottery the first thing I’d do is tell these vultures to take a hike. grrrr.

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