Open Enrollment Author: TriSecDate:11/20/2021 23:40:38
Posting at an unusual hour - I had this idea days ago, and didn't want to do a rush job this morning.
It is that magical time of year at my company; when we all get to review our insurance options and change things as we deem necessary. A mere seven-day period to do so, once a year. Nevermind if you need to update coverage in July; this is it.
We've been rather fortunate over the years in the Trisec compound. We have all worked in healthcare for the bulk of our careers; Mrs. Trisec and I both can remember decades ago when if you worked for the plan, you got the insurance for free. How quaint and old-fashioned!!
We still had a good deal for many years. With Mrs. Trisec working for a major health plan in Massachusetts, we always had good coverage at a reasonable price. Until that health plan was assimilated by the Borg - a bigger health plan in this Commonwealth. Things degraded quickly, and she left that job some months ago, and left the good insurance behind.
This caused me to pick up coverage through my employer, which utterly sucked. Since we are a national company operating in seven cities, corporate has to offer a national plan, instead of something based locally. That plan of choice was Cigna. Which totally sucks ass. I have a long background in this industry, Cigna is one of the plans we tell people not to take if they can help it, the other being United Health.
Both are corporate behemoths, and both are "for-profit" healthcare payers, so their only goal is to make money by any means necessary.
In addition to massive copays and deductibles, the coverage itself is poor, and the premiums were sky-high. And to add further insult to injury, I received notice mere days before open enrollment that my cost was going to increase in the new enrollment year.
I will tell you - the family plan I was paying for was a whopping $856 per pay period. Not per month, every two weeks, a significant portion of my income was spent for bad insurance coverage.
But fortunately, Mrs. Trisec got a new job with another healthcare provider in this Commonwealth; one large enough that they have their own in-house plan. We very quickly did the math and discovered that her coverage was vastly superior to mine, at half the cost. So I dropped mine like the fucking hot potato that it was.
But in the course of our cost-benefit analysis, I discovered a mind-boggling fee. The plan charges Mrs. Trisec an extra $100 per month for me as a surcharge, because I have insurance available through my employer, but I have declined to take it.
This really strikes me as illegal and exploitative, but we were unable to find information one way or the other. In the end, it mattered little; even with the surcharge, we're saving hundreds of dollars a month by changing, so we did.
But this has gotten me thinking again about the so-called "Affordable Care Act" that we all hold so near and dear. I believe we are somewhat insulated here in Massachusetts - it is a state law that any insurance payor based in this state must be "not for profit". It does not prevent the for-profit companies from operating, but in comparing benefits and costs, the differences are stark.
Having been forced to interact with a for-profit corporation, no matter how brief that interaction may have been, shows that the United States as a whole has far more work to do to ensure that health care becomes a right, and not a privilege of the elite few that can afford it.