Friday, May 21, 2010

Moment of Excessive Auto-Biography

So, I'd like to talk a little about healthcare. Yes, I realize I missed the whole debate as legislation was being worked up in the U.S. government.

But lately, for the first time, I've personally had to dig into health care and health insurance for myself. As much as I dislike dealing with personal issues in this space, I've got something on my mind.

I applied for a health insurance plan through a major provider. They lovingly forced me through a convoluted application process whereby I had to provide them with all kinds of personal and medical data before I could even get an inkling of what they might charge me. Sure, their premiums were printed on glossy brochures, but rule number one of surviving is business is "never trust ad copy" (rule number two is "Unless some schmuck's signature is on it in a way that accrues legal liability for them, it's ad copy.")

They, of course, rejected me as being a poor risk. Apparently I'm too underweight for my height. As others have noted, had I been four hundred pounds, they likely would have covered me.

Ah-ha! There's another option? The state offers an insurance plan for people who have been rejected by a private plan for being high risk! Huzzah!

Oh, wait. They're legally required to charge you 101% to 125% what a private plan would. Hu-wha?

Now, I'm still really new at this health insurance thing. I admit there's a lot I don't understand. Like the plan they'd like to offer me. With a $2,000 deductable and 20% co-insurance payment after that, I will have the privilege of paying them $230.71 per month (or more with fees, taxes, and graft. Never trust ad copy).

In exchange, I get... what?

I'm still a little fuzzy on the whole concept here. The premium they're asking for is more than half of what I pay for *rent*. Yes, my parents have generously offered to pay some or all of the premiums, so I can choose instead to sell of my dignity, pride and sense of self-reliance. If I understand correctly, that money is just being pissed down a hole. If - god forfend - I ever *need* medical services, they'll go ahead and charge me up to $2,000 for it, and then 20% after that. Which, given that I make $25,000 or so a year gross and make my bills with not a lot left over, is going to be tough to scrape together. If, say, I needed a liver transplant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and can't pay for one, they will gleefully laugh in my face. If I want to go talk to some chump who had eight years to spare going to school just so I can get a magic piece of paper to buy insulin and other supplies, I have to pay for it myself anyway.

So, for what am I paying the insurance premium, exactly?

Do I look like a charity for the chronically unemployable? Why can't these people go out and get real jobs and become actual productive members of society and the economy? Make things with your mind; if you can't do that, make things with your hands. Living your life making paper is no way to live.

When Marxists talk about bourgeois parasites in society sucking value off the labor of people who work for a living, I will now add insurance company employees to the list. I cannot imagine the world being worse off if all of their kind were lined up and shot.

"...there ain't no cure / The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor / but I... I believe in love" - Bono.

Googlebombing for a cause:

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