Thanks for nothing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC

This morning I received my package for 2010 from BCBS of NC. I had hopes because of what is going on in the congress. My premium has gone up 40%. All of my co-pays have doubled at a minimum. Some things that had no co-pay are now $100 or 20% of the bill. I think I am going to throw up. BCBS, where is your argument for no public option?

Comments

Oh, wow, Love

That's terrible. I mean, if you're going to get screwed, at least you should enjoy it.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Having health insurance is a crap shoot these days

I work for a HUGE corporation and therefore expect to have good insurance with none of the hanky-panky nickle-dime stuff that you usually get with employer-provided insurance if the employer has only a handful of employees. But no.

Seems like once a month I get a new notice about what United Healthcare is no longer going to cover. Routine tests that I got with my physical a year ago...no longer covered this year. Prescription co-pays have doubled unless I want to order-by-mail through my "prescription coverage provider"...and by the way, they no longer cover a whole list of certain medications "but ask your doctor about an over-the-counter" substitute which, coincidentally, you can now purchase by mail through said prescription coverage provider (Medco).

Its ridiculous.

So, sorry to hear that

Changes like these hurt the very people who need insurance and use it.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

It's not "insurance"

The fact that health care "insurance" is tied to employment to begin with, is stupid.

That aside, I think your complaint with United Healthcare illustrates a more fundamental problem than the mere fact that health care insurance is indeed such a crap shoot.

A more fundamental yet interrelated problem is that health care "insurance" is expected to pay for things such as routine tests performed at routine checkups.

Why would you even want to purchase insurance to cover an expense you know that you will have later on? It's like purchasing insurance to cover your monthly electric bill: no one does it because it would cost less to just pay for it yourself.

If car insurance covered oil changes, consumers would pay higher car insurance premiums, consumers would get a lot more oil changes and they wouldn't care how much it cost. Of course, car insurance doesn't cover oil changes because that's just dumb.

But if car insurance was required by law to cover oil changes, replacement tires, car washes, and air-conditioning repair (in addition to what it covers currently) a lot of people probably wouldn't be able to afford car insurance, and the cost of these services would be much higher for people paying out-of-pocket.

Now imagine that, at the same time, employers were required by law to provide this car insurance for their employees and given a tax break for doing so. This way, the people most closely connected with the purchase of car repair/maintenance (the car owner) basically have no idea of how much things cost, and no incentive to find out. Costs balloon out of control until there's a massive crisis where the entire society is spending an absurd amount of money on their cars, and people are demanding the the government provide car insurance.

Sounds familiar to me.

----------------------
"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Apples and grapes

No one is required have a car. Of course, no one is required to live either ... and I suppose that's your point.

Both are fruit

Do the rules of economics bend in accordance with your subjective moral priorities? I'm afraid not. The fundamental economics of insurance don't change based on the underlying asset being insured.

By the way, people lived without cars or health insurance for thousands of years. The differences between health, health care, and health care insurance are extremely important to keep in mind.

----------------------
"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

"Swing and a miss" on that comparison, Dr. Q

Car insurance and health insurance are two separate creatures. Although mankind lived many years without antibiotics and vaccines, and in theory they can do without them now, that does not mean you should only get them if you are worthy. Your equating car insurance (where owning a car is optional) with health insurance (where living and dying is not quite the same choice) is a bogus comparison.

Our society has the wealth to treat each human being as a human being, and cover each person with basic health services. We manage to make sure folks get enough to eat (well, for the most part through AFDC) - health care should be the same.

Oh, and I suppose I was lucky - my single coverage *only* went up 12%, with no change in my health and without reaching the next age tier. I can't wait for that - the last time I reached the next tier my rates jumped over 40%.

FUBCBCNC

Car insurance and health

Car insurance and health insurance are two separate creatures. Although mankind lived many years without antibiotics and vaccines, and in theory they can do without them now, that does not mean you should only get them if you are worthy.

"Although mankind lived many years without cars, and in theory they can do without them now, that does not mean you should only get them if you are worthy."

Since your statement applies to cars as well as vaccines,you really didn't illustrate any fundamental difference. Besides, you shift from talking about health insurance in the first sentence to talking about health care in the next as if the two were the same things.

Your equating car insurance (where owning a car is optional) with health insurance (where living and dying is not quite the same choice) is a bogus comparison.

I'm actually not equating the two, because car insurance actually operates as insurance whereas so-called health insurance is not insurance at all, and is therefore extremely wasteful and unaffordable. I'm showing how, if we wanted to, we could completely screw up car insurance in the exact same way we have screwed up health insurance by mandating that it cover things that insurance can't cover efficiently. You insure against risks not certainties.

If only health insurance did have to do with life and death issues. Instead of covering only catastrophic health problems (which would make the premiums affordable), it covers things like regular physicals and medication for non-life-threatening conditions. Health insurance may as well cover the cost of hiring a personal vegan chef and workout trainer if it's going to cover anything related to improving our health.

Our society has the wealth to treat each human being as a human being, and cover each person with basic health services. We manage to make sure folks get enough to eat (well, for the most part through AFDC) - health care should be the same.

Yes, our society has the wealth to do so, but the government does not. Society, left to its own devices, is much better at solving problems and providing for itself than the state, which has always been the vanguard of the capitalist/ruling class's interests. One of the reasons government-run health insurance is even on the table is because it was OK'd by many sectors of the corporate world who view it as a way of externalizing one of their production costs. Hurray for corporate welfare disguised as welfare for the masses (just like transportation infrastructure, public schools, R&D money, etc)!

Oh, and I suppose I was lucky - my single coverage *only* went up 12%, with no change in my health and without reaching the next age tier. I can't wait for that - the last time I reached the next tier my rates jumped over 40%.

It's a consequence of a deeply flawed system. We've got to get to the root of the problem if we really want to fix it.

----------------------
"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

You say tomato?

Both are fruit?

That's like saying representative government and free market fundamentalism are the same thing because they're both flawed philosophies.

PS There are no "rules" of economics. You should well know that by now.

It's up to you

I argued that government mandates on insurance companies and employers have distorted the health care insurance market (by making it not insurance at all), and explained how the exact same problems would occur in the car insurance market if similar policies were implemented.

It's up to you to show me how I'm wrong in that analysis - not throw up a red herring that one is "more important" than the other (unless you can show that this actually effects the mechanics of insurance, which I honestly welcome you to do).

Actually James, there are laws of economics because there are laws of human action and behavior. They may not be perfectly understood, and they aren't as "certain" as the basic laws of physics, but they do exist.

If they didn't, how could you possibly argue that the public option would improve healthcare access? Such a determination, to be rational and sincere, must be made on the basis of some understanding of the principles upon which goods and services are produced an exchanged within a society. How do you reach economic conclusions without employing economic principles and reasoning?

----------------------
"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Let me give this a shot, Dr Q

the difference is that you won't get far in your car if you don't get that flat tire fixed but you can go on for years and years with silent high blood pressure doing devastating damage to your body. Without the routine tests that can catch much worse disease, health care costs will not drop, they will balloon.

Most people don't give a their cars or their bodies a penny's more attention than they think they have to in whatever scenario but the consequences of going without basic health care are deadly.

Progressives are the true conservatives.

"Some understanding of the principles"

Is a far cry short of "rules" by any standard I can think of.

A couple of additional thoughts.

1. I have yet to find you open-minded about anything. We've had some interesting discussions, and I occasionally drift in your direction philosophically, but your consistent holding to ideological anchors seems to make active engagement hardly worthwhile.

2. I have two friends who are economists and they disagree about almost everything when it comes to public policy. Both are emeritus professors with long-standing tenure and sterling reputations.

3. One thing they do agree on is that the practice of economics is inextricably grounded in political choices. One, for example, has not the slightest worry in the world about deficit spending. Just as you or I might borrow money to build a house, so too our government can borrow money to build a more just society. Whether the house is worth the money ... or whether the just cause is worth the investment ... those are different (political) questions. They have nothing to do with economics.

4. The ultimate issue here is how far we, as a society, want to go in trying to mitigate suffering. The truth is, there will always be suffering, and nothing we can do will stop it.

5. Your answer to everything is to let personal interests reign supreme, reducing all social outcomes to a single measure: capital. I believe there are other, more important measures, to consider.

6. The mechanics of health insurance that your describe are theoretical artifacts of our current, profit-driven system. Other countries have proven beyond dispute that alternative systems can produce better care at significantly lower costs.

Amen, James

And I have already bought your book.
:-D

Lovex7

Thanks, Love

I'd love to hear what you think about my novel ... especially if you like it!

Forgot that part

The tests that used to come with my physical...well, now I get to pay for them.

Lovex7

Tags: Miller and Kissell

You included Miller and Kissell in the tags on your post. Does that mean they're both committed to voting against any bill that doesn't contain a decent public option?

Public Option

I know that Miller wants a public option, but I'm not sure about Kissell. I tagged them both because their "people" read BlueNC.

Lovex7

I called Kissell's office last week

I asked what his public option stance was. They asked for clarification, and I mentioned the Medicare + 5 proposal. His staffer (who was very nice and patiently explained Kissell's position) said that one of his priorities was preserving the chance for people to get private insurance, so he wouldn't support something that strong. I said that it sure sounded like he opposed it because it would be too good; she said that I misunderstood. I don't remember her justification for her saying that, but it failed to convince me.

My impression of the Kissell situation is that since taking office, he's been sucked into the Blue Dog mentality of conservatism for the sake of conservatism. I think he needs to spend more time at this site and less listening to the Blue Dogs.

Thanks for the report

The insurance lobby is a powerful force with no hesitation about lying in order to scare freshmen Congressmen into believing the sky will fall if America decides that everyone deserves affordable care.

Jake had the answer

to the question I was afraid to ask.

Lovex7

The public option situation from one point of view

There is absolutely NO doubt that Lovex7's situation would be non-existant should there be a "public option"...or rather, a government option, as it were. And, there is absolutely NO doubt that Lovex7 wouldn't have suffered what he experienced if he had some kind of government insurance program. However, it is difficult to imagine that BCBS just arbitrarily went up on his premiums and co-pays for absolutely no reason. Now, do not get me wrong here. I am not saying that some kind of pre-existing condition he has/had should raise his premium and I absolutely do not think that he should have anything raised with regard to his health insurance without cause. But, seems there's some information missing here. BCBS doesn't just pick out people and then just go up this way without some kind of reason, even if the reason to us might be considered wrong.

Forgive me if I've judged this wrongly. Trust me, I am on board with having a public option to offer competition for the United Health Cares and the BCBS companies. But, this somehow doesn't jive. Could be wrong here.

You are wrong.

I had nothing out of the ordinary this year.

Lovex7

Okay, Lovex7

I probably am wrong....not trying to "start something" here. With your scenario being as it is, it just gives more impetus to the fact that we definately need some kind of "option" so that this cannot happen to people.

We just do not hear about this kind of abuse of people on insurance and I had health insurance through my employer years and years and never heard of this kind of thing happening.

Didn't mean to question your presentation. It just sounded so horrible it was almost unbelievable.

I have had BC health ins for 20 years

and they did a good job on paying most of my cancer bills. But I still went broke.

When we move from CA to NC I applied to BCBS of NC for the same type of health insurance I had in CA.

They refused to cover me because of my successful cancer fight 5 years ago. For those who don't know, if you live 5 years after treatment you are considered a lower risk for a cancer recurrence. In fact my premiums from BC of CA actually went down on my 5 year cancer anniversary.

Now the only way I can get health insurance is to apply to a state plan for the uninsureable, someone just told me about.

Lovex7, I feel for ya brother.

How odd..... suddenly I feel like a moderate

I sympathize with the health care premium bump, just got mine as well and it contained a similar nasty surprise. I have United Health Care through my employer, a publicly owned utility company.

It might be a good thing that the republicans stalled things for this long so that those of us lucky people with employer provided health insurance can see the insurance companies going for the gold before new regulations can kick in. It kinda answers the question of "what's in it for us" as regards the public option. I've always favored the public option, since I do believe the statement (can't remember who said it and I'll murder it through my memory) of: we can judge our society by examining how the "least" of us are treated.

Oddly enough, and quite a surprise to me, I find myself thinking Dr. Q makes and interesting point about planned medical things such as regular exams. I do budget for things in my life and that doesn't seem too big a stretch. Using a program such as the one in Maryland where a state agency sets the possible costs for each and every service would certainly help level the playing field so that folks could budget so I'm sure Dr. Q and I diverge on that particular aspect of government "intervention" in the private sector, but I don't think health care should ever be allowed to make a profit in the first place. Pay providers well, and cover the asset costs certainly, but I'm done with thinking insurance companies deserve ANY piece of the pie when they've been so reckless with dollars for a life and death need.

Again, here's hoping My Obama can get a decent change through with the help of our duly elected representatives. I'll cross my fingers, and use the phone and email and intertubes and goddess willing and the creek don't rise we'll get something good.

Hi Denny!

Glad to see you out and about this morning. Is is cold in Colorado yet? Thanks for stopping by.

James

PS Well said: "I'm done with thinking insurance companies deserve ANY piece of the pie when they've been so reckless with dollars for a life and death need."

Got our woolies on

Hiya James!

Is cold. Snow yesterday, about 8" up where I was working, which turned into a lovely 11 hours day of keeping the ice from busting the powerlines. BTW, I look in here almost every day. I find it gives me a bit of a wider perspective on our Colorado issues, and I get to see what my dear friend is up to.

And I pre-ordered the book and devoured it in the first weekend. I'm looking for the second one. You rock.