I can’t believe we live in this kind of a country.
I am self-employed. I bought, what I believe I was told, was the best self-employed health coverage I could get, from the local CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. And the bastards just tried to charge me $250 for two prescriptions I had filled last month, and paid at the time something around $20 to $40.
I called BlueCross to find out what was up. They told me that I hit my annual limit of $1500 coverage for prescriptions. $1500? First I ever heard of that one. What other little surprises are hiding inside my $340/month health insurance package? I have numerous prescriptions I have to fill between now and the end of the year (not to get into too many details, but my allergies have finally gotten to the point where they’re impacting my lung capacity – and the allergist tells me that’s a bad thing long-term, not being able to breathe and all). And I’m on Vytorin for cholesterol control.
So, my choice is:
A) Skip my cholesterol medicine for December, and skip all (three, I believe) of my lung/allergy medicines for the next two months, or…
B) Pay somewhere between $500 and $1000 out of my own pocket because BlueCross BlueShield has super duper double secret limits on how much prescription coverage they’re going to give you.
This is scary. I haven’t been unusually sick this year. Yet I’ve already reached my limit of coverage. What do people do who are actually really REALLY sick? Who come down with cancer, or HIV, or some serious months-long illness?
In the end, I’m fortunate. I can spend $1000 out of my own pocket to try to ensure that my lungs don’t collapse at the age of 60, and to ensure that I lessen the chances of having a heart attack shortly thereafter. But what kind of health care system do we have when you’re told you’re buying the best plan you can get, and the bastards have so many loopholes in the unintelligible fine print of the contract that you literally have no idea what your plan is, no idea what is and isn’t coverage, no idea what limits you face on an annual basis or a lifetime basis. (I have a law degree from Georgetown and I can’t make heads or tails of my coverage.)
And oh yes, there are lifetime limits on your insurance. Did you know that? Chris wrote about a friend of his, who had great insurance, and whose family member got some horrible disease (cancer, I think), and hit their “lifetime limit” on their insurance – mom just got a little too sick. Sayonara, baby – the insurance company told them – we’ve already paid too much for you, now go away and die. Next!
Our health care system sickens me. I got to France and get sick, and have to get a chest x-ray, and I make the appointment that morning, go in that afternoon, wait 2 minutes in the office before they take me in for the x-ray, and 15 minutes later the doctor is going over my x-ray with me, and I’m out the door 20 minutes after I walked in. Total cost? 45 euros (about $55 to $60 bucks). Oh, and I had to go to the general practitioner doctor first – it was she who recommended I get the xray (it’s really expensive, she told me – ha!). Total cost for the doctor visit? 20 euros (25 bucks). A visit to your general practitioner and then to the chest x-ray guy for around $70. This is the “socialism” that Sarah Palin and the Republicans keep whining about. If that’s socialism…
I should have gotten my prescriptions when I was in Europe. It just sickens me, the system we’ve created. What do people do who can’t afford to pay when BlueCross hits it hidden stingy limits? What do people do when they can’t afford insurance at all, like the taxi driver, with a wife and kids, who I was talking to the other day?
Honest to God, I imagine a world in which in 20 years I’ll be fleeing to Europe for my health care coverage because my own country will have become, already has become, one big greedy uber-corporation. When Republicans start getting sick, and they find out that their super-duper coverage isn’t so super duper after all, then we’ll see the system change.
These people make me sick.
Note from Jacki: We have a unique opportunity right now to change this sick system once and for all. Stories like John’s are why I left TV altogether and chose to move into health care reform. As many of you know, I work with HCAN – which is a growing coalition of unions, netroots activists, women’s groups, doctors, nurses, and think tanks – working to win a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all in 2009. John posted earlier about helping SEIU keep health care on the map. We’re part of this online campaign, and the goal right now is keep the momentum going. If you too have had enough, help us keep this issue up top. Help us get the message out that fixing health care is fundamental to fixing our economy. Help us squash insurance company greed once and for all. Obama signed on to our campaign a month ago. So did Biden. And Rahm. And about 150 members of Congress to date. We’ve got a huge fight ahead. You better believe the insurance and drug lobbies will come out swinging. It’s ok to get mad. But then come get even.