After my health insurer hit me with an unconscionable 18% rate hike for 2008, I asked my agent to explore alternatives. Going into this, I knew I’d end up with less coverage. My agent believed that staying with the same company and simply switching to one of their lousier plans could be accomplished with minimal hassle.
That sounded good to me. After all, my present policy, which is considered “really good,” might as well be a lousy policy. This insurer denies claims so I never meet my $750 deductible. In addition to collecting their premium, which is reaching mortgage-size proportions, they stick me with the bulk of all my routine healthcare expenses.
We found a plan for about $110 a month less that’s quite up-front about sticking me with the out-of-pocket bills. What’s weird about it is that the dental portion is TRIPLE what I pay now ($27 a month vs. $9). But what the heck, I’d still save $1,320 a year. Where do I sign?
Not so fast! Today I found out I must “go through underwriting” again. Like I just walked in off the street.
Like they don’t already have a file on me dating back to 1992. (They required 10 years of medical history when I first applied in 2002). Like they don’t have a stack of “Explanations of Benefits” denying some payment on every doctor visit I’ve had since.
They want ANOTHER nine-page application. WHY???!!!
It’s one way they keep the cost of insurance sky-high and discourage all but the heartiest (those with the highest genetic tolerance for bullshit paperwork) out of the risk pool. It’s a significant operating expense to pay underwriters to scrutinize a person’s multiple applications for inconsistencies or omissions. The objective is to find some tiny reason to decline coverage altogether or to bump us into higher risk brackets so we’ll continue paying through the nose for less and less insurance.
This fight has just begun. Stay tuned…