Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Have A Happy And Healthy Holiday

Here's an email from a friend.  He's an independent contractor and is going through what a lot of others have to deal with this time of year. (He's also not a Republican as far as I can tell.)

For those not having to deal with the Affordable Care Act, here's part of the confusion:

I previously discovered that I could not trust the provider list from my current ACA policy; the first three or four doctors on the list (that had good reviews) in fact were NOT accepting the insurance.  Also, have found examples of doctors not listed by insurers when other info on the web says they do accept that insurance.  So, forget about having faith in the answers you find online.

Today is last day to make a change and get uninterrupted coverage into 2015.  I made a chart of five recommended doctors and seven possible policies.  That makes 35 possible matches.  Called all the doctors' offices, and of those possibilities, they were confident that 19 were unaccepted, 4 were "probably" unaccepted, 6 were unanswerable, 5 were "possibly" accepted, leaving a total of 1 that was APPARENTLY a match.  

Note that this is the last day, so this info has been available to the doctors for the maximum possible amount of time (not blaming the doctors' offices, just explaining the time horizon), and when I would read the policy name exactly as it appears on the website, the offices would frequently say they "don't know what that is" -- even when it's an insurance company that they do accept some policies from.  They would sometimes ask "is that a (blah blah) or a (blah blah)?," and I would repeat that I'm just reciting the name exactly as it appears.

The insurance companies offer sub-groups of sub-groups of policies, and the doctors' offices frequently said the policies are "too new" for them to know -- on the last day of enrollment!

One doctor's office suggested I call their affiliated hospital's billing department, which I did, and was told they had no idea why I was told that, since their handling of insurance is completely separate.  Just got off the phone with one office, and the very patient woman trying to come up with an answer on whether they accepted "Blue Care Network - Blue Cross [...] HMO" spent about twenty minutes on it, and concluded she absolutely could not tell me.  She said the only way to know was to provide her with my policy number -- which you obviously don't get until after you sign up!

So, despite the most deliberate efforts, even at the deadline date, you discover that the vast majority of lower-priced policies are either unaccepted or have an unknown status, and nobody is offering to research it and "get back to you."  Of course, many of the non-answers come after being on hold for a very long time.
No need to comment.  The thing speaks for itself.


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Excellent. Things are proceeding as designed and intended. Gruber must have really enjoyed his recent testimony, a rare opportunity to double down almost as well as the president himself.

(I'm starting to get anonymous's comment about "not a robot," having been asked repeatedly now to prove I'm not a robot. You'd think that with the quality of my work they'd rebut my proof and hold a hearing or something.)

2:26 AM, December 17, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS the problems outlined above happened before ACA too- insurance companies suck and ACA did not solve that but certainly did not create it

6:56 AM, December 17, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? I got my own insurance before the ACA and never had problems anything like this.

8:59 AM, December 17, 2014  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

I'm right with you, Anonymous. Insurance companies do suck. I've always thought so. Fortunately, I've always been able to select freely among the others that have lower suckage. It's worked like a charm until now.

What you seem unable to see, though, is that government is an insurance company that will shoot you when you seek an alternative. (Go ahead, try it out, say, "I can't breathe." Sounds like a natural Obamacare slogan that ought to work just fine for complaining about Republicans.)

12:43 PM, December 17, 2014  

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