Thoughts from an Insurance Insider

Pop quiz hot-shot: if your arm was bitten off by a shark, what would you do?

a) Go to the hospital
b) Wrap something around it to stop the bleeding
c) Call 911 with your remaining hand
d) Do nothing, and head off to lunch, hoping for the best

All of those are good answers to a serious problem, except for one. If you’re too stupid to figure out which one is the bad answer then you deserve what you get.

Now, let’s look at this in the context of the summer’s hot button issue: health care. What do we do? I work in the health insurance industry and I can safely say our current system is the equivalent of a swimmer pumping blood from the gaping hole where his arm used to be, while being circled by a feeding frenzy of sharks.

Here’s an example of what I see on a daily basis: There’s a small fitness studio in Fairfield County that just employs a husband and wife. The good news is they can barely pay their insurance premiums. The bad news is that they just got their renewal and it went up by 34%, mostly based on the fact that the wife jumped up in an age-rating bracket. (Can you imagine the nerve it takes to get older, this year of all years? What a bitch.) Currently they are on a $2,500 deductible plan (per person) so it’s not like they’re on the Cadillac of health plans. It’s more like the 1994 Subaru of health plans.

Here are their options for a more “affordable” plan:
a) Go to a $5,000 deductible plan
b) Go to an H.S.A. plan –no co pays here, you pay for everything up front!
c) Switch insurance carrier.

Since they are currently with the cheapest insurance carrier this state has to offer  you can write off choice C. So $5,000 deductible, here they come! (Don’t worry though…their premiums will still be going up!) Health Insurance: paying more and getting less, year after year!

I could bore you with more stories like this, many more, in fact. But I won’t. While that 34% increase is certainly higher than most consumers get slapped with, health insurance prices are going up to the tune of 10-20% a year. To be fair, there have been a few that have gone down, but that’s very rare.

In a recent renewal meeting, a co-worker threw out this blanket, meaningless statement to an employer (probably to seem smart): “There’s a crisis in heath care.” The employer replied: “Yeah, the prices keep going up!” Simple, yet so true. So, let’s say you’re an employee of a company with more than two employees, chances are you don’t shoulder most of the burdens of the premiums, so what do you care? Well, you should. With prices continuing to go up, the employers are going to pass those increases on to you, if they haven’t already. (Ever wonder why your salary increases are so low? Well, it’s because the money they could be giving you in your check goes to paying your insurance premium.) It is possible they’ll just eat the cost, if you happen to be working for one of those companies that make a shit-ton of money where CEOs light their cigars with flaming dollar bills. If you work for a non-imaginary company, expect more money out of your paycheck or a higher deductible. Either way, you’re in for a big bag of suck.

So if things are looking so grim, even for those of us with health insurance, why are people all in a huff about health care reform?

It’s pretty understandable. Aside from public schools, Medicare, the Post Office, the military, roads and highways, police, the fire department, the court system, the FDA, and national intelligence, who in their right mind would want their tax dollars paying for socialized (i.e. commie) services?

And get this; part of the reform says insurance companies can not discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition. Another says insurance can’t drop you if you get sick. And still another encourages people to think about end-of-life care and living wills,  so they aren’t kept on respirators for years on end if they don’t want to be. Sick bastards!

Yeah, the President is a real dick for trying to put those death panels over on us! F you, America!

The idea of a public plan is pretty crappy, too. Who would want a cheaper individual health insurance plan that will cover you even if you have a pre-existing condition? Not me. And do you want some government bureaucrat telling you what services will and will not be covered? No, I’ll take an insurance company telling me that, thank you very much, because they know what’s good for the bottom line me.

Then just think about the taxes! How could an insurance plan ever become self-sustaining?

Health care costs will keep rising but thanks to the hard work of elderly, chubby protesters across the country we will not likely see meaningful reform any time soon. And since unhealthy people cause health care costs to rise I’ve come up with a solution to make everyone happy: don’t just walk to your protest site…run there! Maybe even jog around in a circle instead of standing in one place and yelling angrily at your elected officials. It’ll be good for your heart and your halth insurance provider’s pockets!

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