The Big Think

September 15, 2004

Insurance

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.

2 Comments »

  1. Don’t take it personally; all health insurance policies, including the group policies that are available through some workplaces, are rising in cost. (I was apalled to discover when I left my last job that, to continue the same coverage without employer subsidies through COBRA would have cost over $1,000/month!) Further, the doctors in my family are having a tougher and tougher time making ends meet. I don’t know exactly who to point at as a villian in this case: the insurance companies are certainly frustrating to deal with; the pharmaceutical companies seem to be getting a big chunk of money, which they claim is necessary for R&D, though I’ve seen firsthand that some of that goes for some crazy marketing. (We went to Six Flags with Claratin money a couple years back.) Yes, it’s a mess.

    In any case, good luck on your search for other options. I did find more available to non-group members the last time I went looking than I ever had earlier, so hopefully there will be some options for you.

    Sean

    Comment by Sean — September 16, 2004 @ 8:20 am

  2. yeeeeesh. well, you’ve heard my insurance horror story. after years of paying in, no less. AND i go to church with the agents and see them all the time, thus forcing an exercising of the virtues.

    this is one of those issues that *really* matters, as opposed to who was valorous in the late 60s or early 70s. who you vote for in november will have a direct effect on what our insurance future is.

    Comment by barry brake — September 21, 2004 @ 2:45 am

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