Monday, March 08, 2010

Nope, Nothing Wrong

You guys, I'm so discouraged I'm in tears.

First, there's no reason to believe I'm going to lose  my health insurance. My plan, is however, unsustainably expensive. I'm not going to go into the whole story right now, though I know I'll be writing it out soon. The upshot is that it's $1,529 per month just to cover me and that's the only individual POS plan available in my state right now.

For a couple of years now I've been trying to pull the costs down and have finally called in some big guns for help and my boss and the guns and I are having a conference call to discuss solutions. In preparation for that I called my current carrier, AETNA, to see if they had any comparable plans to the options the guns have given out which are Oxford/United Healthcare. I could switch to an HMO with AETNA, there's no out of network coverage, the co-pays are larger and the premium? $1,204 per month, which is what my current plan was up until last September.

There's another, more restrictive, plan I could try for. But I'd have to make under a certain amount and I think I'm just over it.

I almost cried on the phone. This deep inside part of me wanted to just unleash on this random AETNA lackie on the other end of the phone but I was so discouraged that I couldn't even do that, I just hung up and tried not to cry.

Some woman over at the Colony (can't remember where) left a comment about how she hasn't had health insurance for most of her adult life and she doesn't want to have any and she'd RATHER DIE than have government run health care. I don't really get where she was coming from and I haven't seen her explain herself. I'd rather not die, though. And I'd rather not go broke trying not to die. And I'd really like to get a whole bunch of insurance executives in a room and do a little round table discussion of our "health insurance stories."

But I guess the Obamas already have that covered and plenty of people have worse stories than me.

Which just makes me cry harder.


  1. I understand how important this is to you.
    However... I am one of those that has lived without healthcare for most of my adult life and it doesn't look like that is going to change. Chef's don't often have it provided unless they carry it themselves. I know that this issue is huge with you. You express so much about it. And help me stay current with how the other side lives. I depend on vitamins, CVS clinics. I save to pay dental yearly visits. And pray a lot. I don't have any answers or anything real... new to add. But I am sorry this is causing you such grief my dear. If I can help in any way... please, let me. And I know you worry... but I do it. I really do. No Healthcare babe. And its scary. But I'm okay. And I know that is not the issue and it may not help you at all to know that. Good healthcare vibes... coming your way.

  2. Please tell me your bosses pay at least a portion of this insurance cost each month!

  3. The point Gert is not that you CAN do it but that you shouldn't have to.

    Kath, it gets put into my salary pre-tax so, in essence, they pay 2/3 of the premium.

  4. Hey Kizz,

    Anytime I have to deal with health insurance, I cry. It's something about how ridiculous the whole system is, I always feel taken advantage of and like I'm the loser no matter what happens. Even when I'm talking to the very nice and understanding billing lady in the little clinic where I saw my midwives last year, when I start to feel like I don't understand, the tears start to well up. It makes it hard to continue the conversation, for one thing. Its very exhausting and mentally draining for another thing. It sounds like you understand.

    I don't understand what an indidvidual POS plan is. I have a high-deductible plan, which basically means that I pay for all my coverage. But. It is affordable. And once/if that deductible is met, it covers 100%. So as long as you can afford the deductible per year, then you should be fine.

    I didn't write to give advice, just to say that i think we're in the same boat -- feel obligated to have insurance even though we hate the idea of paying for something we hope we don't have to use and don't have lots of spare money or generous employers laying around -- and since we're in the same boat, I thought i'd say Hi.


  5. I have said - loudly and to whomever will listen - that what we REALLY need is for the people who make policy decisions to go and spend some time with the people that policy is going to directly affect. I wanted, more than anything, for my state representative to come and spend a week last summer with my dying mother and me, THEN s/he could go back to DC and make decisions. I want my board members to come and spend a week in my classroom, doing my job with me, THEN they can go back and decide how our budget is best spent. Gah.

  6. Kizz, I saw the comment at the Colony, and I asked the woman to elaborate. Does she not have health insurance out of principle? lack of funds - or the opposite, ability to pay in full? Belief, like maybe she's a Christian Scientist? Or does she go to the emergency room and skip the payment? No response.

    Gertrude you are brave. I suppose I could have tried to survive like you - I was a freelancer for many years, and I have pretty good health. But luckily I was represented by a labor union and was able to get coverage through them.

    Other than having a baby - for which I was covered, thank goodeness - I haven't needed much medical care. It wasn't until I was in my 50s that I learned my blood pressure was high - it had been fine in my 30s, but without those regular checkups from the same doctor, I probably wouldn't have known it was steadily going up.

    But it's funny, my kid, who is now 21 and thanks to the pending Obama reforms, will still be carried on our insurance till he's 26 or so - when he was a baby he had a respiratory emergency. We would never have known that he had ony one working lung without the security of being able to take him to his doctor regularly without worrying about cost. He needed two operations to solve the problem.

    All I can think of is somewhere out there is a mom with a kid who's suddenly sickly, unthriving, and she's trying to figure out whether to take him to the emergency room - which in my kid's case would never have solved the problem. It was only because his regular pediatrician knew his history, that she finally diagnosed him.

    Kizz, I hope something happens for you soon with Aetna. I have Aetna HMO, and so far no complaints.

  7. The whole situation sucks and something needs to happen soon.