Monday, April 09, 2007

More You Didn't Want To Know About Health Insurance

Start talking about health insurance and just about everyone has a story that you can relate to on some level. (Well, folks who work for the state or the feds or a stable corporation may not quite get what you're talking about if they've had the same health insurance plan for years.) But talk to people who have changed jobs, been laid off, or are self-employed, and you'll hear horror stories. Scott Wells, of Boy in the Bands, discusses his situation, which sounds slightly better than many (low cost, low service, but still some protection).

I don't think my issues with health insurance are unusual. Jim and I are healthy people who don't require a lot of care. We don't have any long-term illnesses, don't have any prescriptions, don't visit the doctor but once a year. But still, we have these high deductible plans. The deductible isn't more money than we could get our hands on at any moment, so it provides some "protection."

But, Lord knows I'm being naive about "protection", because I remember reading how California Blue Cross had systematically cancelled policies of people who needed them the most (pregnant women, and sick actual folks). From the Los Angeles Times:

The state investigation found that Blue Cross used computer programs and a dedicated department to systematically investigate and cancel the policies of pregnant women and the chronically ill regardless of whether they intentionally lied on their applications to cover up preexisting medical conditions — a standard required by state law for canceling individual policies.

Regulators examined 90 randomly selected cases of policy cancellations — out of about 1,000 a year in California — and found violations in each one.

True Motherfuckers. Once your health insurance is cancelled, you are practically uninsurable.

A similar investigation is being conducted of Blue Shield (which different from Blue Cross in California), Kaiser, HealthNet, and PacifiCare. Read the entire article here.