Monday, December 11, 2006

Blue Shield of California


No better way to put that. Short. Succinct. True. Blue Shield of California sucks, as I'm sure every other American provider of medical insurance does.

The reason? Simple, really. I go to an online site that sells health insurance, describe to my wife how health care works in this country ("So only after you pay $2,000 do you start to get benefits?" "It's called a deductible." "And we pay $100 a month for that?" "It's really just hit-by-a-bus insurance, with ten dollar generic drugs." "I don't know.") and after selecting a plan, my wife fills in an extensive questionnaire, detailing her medical history, back to the first cough lozenge she swallowed at the age of three.

Then today we get this in the mail:

Unfortunately, we are unable to request medical information outside of the United States. As this information is necessary for our evaluation of your application, we must defer your request for coverage at this time.

If you can provide us with copies of your medical records, we will be pleased to re-evaluate your application.

-- Sincerely, Senior Underwriter

And what, Dear Sir, Mr. Senior Underwriter, constitutes medical records? Can't say, can I? Isn't defined. Would it be every form filled out by every doctor she's ever seen? Would you like that translated and in triplicate? Where would you like me to leave the file cabinet?

If there were an American gulag, would the insurers be the first ones on the trains? Or the politicians who allowed them to protect their bottom line rather than the bottoms of so many uninsured expendables?

It's a simple theory: You insure everyone, and spread the cost around. I know that may be too simple for Washington, but it's really all we should say on the subject. Insure everyone, spread the cost around. Because why, in the so-called greatest country in the world, must there remain large groups of people who do not qualify for insurance, who are left out of the safety net? We all end up paying anyway, either through higher insurance rates or costs absorbed by the state. Just insure anyone.

Till then, if anyone knows where to get insurance for someone new to the United States ... well, drop a comment here.


Anonymous said...

Do you not have a policy for yourself? I just added my husband on my med insurance when we got married, no questions asked except SSN of course. Hmm...

The Author said...

I have a policy through USC, where I'm getting my PhD. It's free for me, but to add a family member it's $462 per month. At that price, more than $5,000 per year ... well, we were initially interested in pursuing alternatives.

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand why you want to live in the USA. It's dog eat dog. Apply for a European passport now... I just got back from visiting Turkey. The contrast between Ukraine/Russia was stark. Whilst there were some similarities the thing that fit me the most was there were no dunk people and you did not see a casino on every corner. Oh and the streets were clean and no piles of rubbish. Cost of medical treatment is relatively cheap but I would not want to be interned in their hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Blue Shield of California has twice denied prescription medication for my wife that the doctor prescribed specifically because he said it was the only one of its kind that had no adverse side effects. Today, after a month of trying to get the medication, she took a drug the doctor prescribed as a replacement that Blue Shield would cover, and was just subjected to violent bouts of vomiting and other horrid side effects, to the point where I thought I might have to take her to the emergency room. They saved some cash not allowing the initial prescription (which worked great when my wife took the samples the doctor gave her, and had absolutely no side effects), but at the expense of their patient's health.

The Author said...

Sorry to hear about your wife's troubles, Anon. Sadder to say it doesn't surprise me. We don't have health insurance in this country, we have accounting.

Anonymous said...

You are lucky Blue Shield denied you coverage instead of taking your money and putting you through paperwork hell to get almost no reimbursement.

If you are a Blue Shield employee and reading this, save your eternal soul and quit. They do incredible evil in the lives of vulnerable people. I know that you, the employee are not doing evil deliberately; the management of your company is. But you are their instrument of evil if you work for them, no matter your intentions.

"The essence of tragedy is not the doing of evil by evil men but the doing of evil by good men, out of weakness, indecision, sloth, inability to act in accordance with what they know to be right."

Quit. Do something honorable or at least something that doesn't wreak such damage in the lives of people when they are most vulnerable.

Stephan said...

Agreed. And well said.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Blue Shield screwed me over and denied me coverage - the cheapest major medical - simply because of a medication that I am taking. I'm glad they denied me though, I'd just as well not give them any of my money for red tape and denial of claims anyway. Screw you blueshield all the way straight to you know where.