breaking news top stories world news politics conservative liberal news fox news fake news economic news socio political government news updates political blogs editorials illegal immigrant racism terrorism trump trump biden obama clinton investigation russia china congress scandal fbi nas cia doj intelligence science news election news worldwide news invasion migrants republicans CDC WHO democrats, schumer pelosi cortez harris Ilhan omar tlaib Covid-19 pandemic mail in voting riots vaccines
theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Screw you, Mickey Kaus
I’ve been thrown off my health insurance — THANKS, OBAMACARE! — and have spent hours and hours over the past month trying to figure out my options now that the Democrats have made my old plan, which I liked, “illegal.” (I prefer to think of my plan as “undocumented.”)
Whom do I bill for the hours of work Obamacare forced me to perform? How about you, Mickey? You’re the smartest living liberal (faint praise), and you assured us that Obamacare was going to be fantastic.
By now, Obama has issued “waivers” from Obamacare to about 99 percent of the country. (Perhaps you’ve heard, there’s a big midterm election this year.) As one of the few Americans not granted a waiver, I’m here to tell you: You have no idea what’s coming, America.
I thought I had figured out the best plan for me a month ago after having doctors and hospital administrators look at the packets of material I was sent by my old insurance company — the same mailing that informed me my old plan was “illegal” under Obamacare.
But when I checked online recently, I discovered the premier plan — the “platinum,” low-deductible, astronomically expensive plan that might be accepted by an English-speaking doctor who didn’t attend medical school in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts — does not include treatment at any decent hospitals.
That’s sort of unfortunate because that’s the only reason I want insurance! That’s the only reason any sane Homo sapiens wants health insurance: to cover health care costs in the event of some catastrophic illness or accident — not to pay for Mickey Kaus’ allergy appointments. But my only options under the blue-chip plan were hospitals that also do shoe repair.
I called Blue Cross directly to ask if its most expensive insurance plan covered the only hospital I’d ever go to in an emergency. Since that’s all I wanted to know, that’s what I asked. (I like to get to the point that way.)
But — as happens whenever you try to ascertain the most basic information about insurance under Obamacare — the Blue Cross representative began hammering me with a battery of questions about myself.
First my name. (Does that make a difference to what hospitals its plans cover?) Then my phone number. By the time he got to my address, I said, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST TELL ME IF ANY OF YOUR PLANS COVER XYZ HOSPITAL? I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I WANT TO SIGN UP WITH YOU!
Finally, he admitted that Blue Cross’ most expensive individual insurance plan does not cover treatment at the hospitals I named. Their doctors are “out of network” (and the person who designed this plan is “out of his mind”).
This was the rest of the conversation, verbatim:
ME: None of your plans cover out-of-network doctors?
BLUE CROSS: No.
ME: Why is it called “Premier Guided Access WITH OUT-OF-NETWORK PLAN”?
BLUE CROSS: Where did you see that?
ME: On Blue Cross’ own material describing its plans.
BLUE CROSS: Oh. I don’t know why it’s called that.
ME: None of your plans cover (the good hospital)?
BLUE CROSS: No.
ME: I don’t know who you are, but I have a very specific set of skills that will help me find you. And when I find you, I am going to kill you. (Click.)
True conversation. Except the last sentence. That was my fantasy.
I decided to approach it from the opposite direction and called one of the nation’s leading hospitals to ask which plans it accepted. The woman listed a series of plans, but she couldn’t tell me if I was eligible for any of them. For that, she said, I’d have to go to the Obamacare website.
Does Obamacare cover suicide?
I went to “healthcare.gov” and — I guess I had heard this, but had blocked it from my memory like a rape victim unable to remember her attack — you can’t even peek at the available plans until you’ve given the government reams of personal information about yourself.
How about they let me look at the merchandise first?
Inasmuch as the cost of health insurance under Obamacare is so high that it will generally make more sense just to pay for your own catastrophic health emergencies, I was not interested in telling Kathleen Sebelius everything about me in order to have the privilege of glancing at the government’s crappy plans.
But that’s the only choice. As the Obamacare website directs:
(1) Create an account. (Name, password.)
(2) Tell us about yourself and your family. (Every single thing.)
(3) Choose a health insurance plan. (That’s where you finally get to see the plans.)
I wonder if other consumer-oriented businesses will start demanding names, addresses, passwords and phone numbers before the customer is allowed to browse the merchandise. Maybe Williams-Sonoma could pick up a few sales tricks from Ezekiel Emanuel! Oh, you’d like to see the bronze muffin tin? Sure, but first I’ll need your Social Security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name. Sign here, here and here.