Sunday, November 8, 2009
Health Insurance Providers' Sick Joke
There comes a point when the news and politics stop being this abstract thing that is there like a phantom mosquito, high-pitch humming at your ear, only it's not really there. Well, now it's there, and it's no phantom. The stories of those that are going without health insurance because they can't afford it have come knocking at my door, popping out of the mailbox and sending me into a tailspin of "me, too."
My wife and I moved to Silverton, Oregon from Los Angeles a little over two years ago. At that time, the only way I was able to get health insurance was because I had been enrolled with Blue Shield of California, allowing me automatic acceptance into Regence BCBS. This acceptance was AFTER I had been rejected by them for a "pre-existing condition." I then applied to Provident and HealthNet, both of whom rejected me. I was in the midst of applying to OMIP--the all accepting/high-risk/high-cost insurance coverage (which is also Blue Cross/Blue Shield), when I heard back from Regence BCBS, telling me that had to accept me.
My monthly premium was $476.00-- for just myself. My wife, who is younger and without pre-existing conditions, was able to get less expensive coverage. It is actually cheaper for us to be covered individually than together. We are both self-employed, which at this point is a euphemism for being out of work.
Last month (October) Regence BCBS raised my monthly insurance premium by more than $50.00, to $527.20. Having turned 60 years-old in September, the increase was high but almost understandable. This week, I got a revised PPO Portability contract (marked "PREVAILING"), where I was informed that my premium will increase in December to $629.00. That is an increase of more than 32% in two months. While I am sure this is legal on Regence's part, I believe it shouldn't be.
Like I say, once--not that long ago--all this healthcare jibber-jabber was abstract. Ooh, they're going to raise their rates to compensate for the government healthcare plan that is going to go into effect. Ooh, big business: BAD.
Wait a minute. The Republican right has whipped their unwashed masses into a frenzy of teabags and rejection. Big government is bad! Keep your nose outta my healthcare! Do these mindless sheep who are blindly following the call to revolution from Michelle Bachman and buying into the comparison of healthcare reform with Dachau like the idea of their insurance company raising premiums willy-nilly?
If I am being victimized and at the insurance company's mercy, I have to think others--including the moron right--are also being victimized. I guess they can all afford it, or just don't care about paying more and more to keep Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser, HealthNet, CIGNA and the rest of them fat and getting fatter.
I cannot go to anyone else for health insurance, as I have the accursed pre-existing conditions (high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which are monitored by my doctor and controlled by expensive medication). These pre-existing conditions are what keep big pharma in the big money. I am literally at the point of finding myself about to go without insurance.
And this is a socialist issue? The government is meddling in your right to pay whatever the insurance company demand of you?
My questions are, how much colder is Canada and what is the waiting period to get on their healthcare program?