Sane Health Care

Yesterday I planned to write today’s blog post, but instead I spent hours filling out an online survey for health care coverage. I am leaving my job in September in order to move to Wallowa County, Oregon, where my husband is now working. However, his job doesn’t provide health insurance, so we have to buy some.

We intend to take advantage of Oregon’s new health insurance (Cover Oregon), but it won’t kick in until January. So, I’m applying for a cheaper plan than my current employer provides (which I could elect to continue out-of-pocket), so we don’t spend quite so much on premiums for three months. This private company shall remain nameless, because I’m sure I’d have the same complaints regardless.

Filling in the application took forever! Not only do they want the basics (age, weight, etc.) there is a huge list of pre-existing conditions, when they’ve been treated, and what prescriptions were assigned. So much for privacy.

I don’t know about you, but I go to the doctor as little as possible and try to erase it from my memory as soon as I leave. I hate walking into any health care facility—I don’t care how tranquil they’ve attempted to make the waiting room. And how to dredge up prescriptions from five years ago? I did the best I could.

Then came the statements of exclusion. They spent way more time telling me what they wouldn’t cover than what they would. The list is impressive.

I went to the Health Care Marketplace website to get some background on the system going into effect January 1. These are just some of the practices the government is shutting down:

  • Being denied coverage, charged more, or having certain kinds of care limited or excluded if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • Women being charged more than men.
  • Plans excluding essential health benefits.

When I needed to buy health insurance in 2006, I had a more colorful five-year record—a couple surgeries and things. I figured the insurance would be more expensive—I had no idea they could choose not to offer it to me at all! But they sure did. “Too big of a financial risk,” the representative said as she showed me the door. If I got strep throat or wanted a wellness exam, tough.

If this same situation occurred in 2014, not only would I have coverage but my premium would be based on my income, so I could even afford it!

Bring on the new plans, I say. There are some things that should not be profit-driven, in my opinion, and basic-level health care is one of them.

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