Got Anthem’s Annual Screw Job

By Karen

While Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act waits for a Supreme Court ruling, Virginia’s largest health insurer, Anthem, continues to merrily bilk its customers to maximize profits.

Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, is fine with that. He wants the General Assembly to do NOTHING to plan the state health insurance exchange that must be operational by January 1, 2014, so small business and individuals (like me) will have a prayer of finding the “protection and affordability” the new law requires.

Instead the Assembly is busy repealing the law that limits personal gun sales to one a month, because insane college kids and criminals everywhere are feeling the pinch of not enough weapons. More murders, more medical spending.

The Assembly also intends to FORCE women seeking abortions to first have an ultrasound, hoping to guilt them into giving birth. Not to mention adding to the cost of the procedure.

So yesterday I got Anthem’s annual notice of my new individual health insurance renewal rate. It’s going up $58 a month — 20%.

In 2011, it went up $25, or 9.6%.

Nearly 30% in TWO YEARS. Can you think of anything else, besides CEO salaries, that has risen that much? Me, either.

Anthem included a cryptic, sinister warning against making any attempt to cut the cost — like decreasing benefits or raising the deductible (again) — which would void “grandfathered” status if health reform ever really happens.

Naturally, Anthem didn’t state if my policy would be grandfathered, nor what benefits might be affected, but just implied that reform might cause me to lose something wonderful about my current stinking, inadequate coverage.

Being self-employed, I have an individual policy. I feel sure Anthem is striking back because I exceeded my $2,250 deductible last year with my breast cancer false alarm and they actually had to pay some claims.

It’s perfectly legal in the individual market for insurers to nail customers to the wall one at a time for daring to get needed healthcare.

And since I now have non-cancer in my medical record, I’m trapped with Anthem until SOMETHING changes with heathcare.

And the way it’s looking, it’s only going to get worse.

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5 Responses to Got Anthem’s Annual Screw Job

  1. Britta says:

    Within your story lies my skepticism with the entire medical community and why I have very strong feelings about the current state of established medical protocol. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. I wish I could find the really good article written by a pretty saavy woman about why she doesn’t buy into the mammogram, testing regimine. I will have to look for it and I will but it made a heck of alot of sense in terms of the incidence of cancer relative to false calls, unncessary and painful procedures, anguish in terms of waiting to have results read and communicated and whether or not the whole ordeal is worth it with the bottom line being that all of this lines the pockets of the medical and insurance community. Yes, I know that those who have had a positive diagnosis will disagree and I certainly understand their position. This journalist, by the way, has sworn off the recommended protocol saying that what women go thru to find nothing is amiss, to have their health insurance records reflect seemingly suspect but innocuous results is a travesty.

    I remember medicine in the 80s when I had BC/BS and things were so straight-forward. If a test came back as suspect, if one had a medical issue, one visit to one practitioner (not a bevy of gatekeepers) provided a diagnosis and a plan for treatment. It isn’t that way now and I am hard-pressed to see how anything will change the current state of affairs.

    Frankly, our cats get better treatment than we do, albiet patient pay. I wish so much that I could walk into a physician’s office and be cared for in the same comprehensive manner.

  2. catsworking says:

    Britta, the insurers and the medical establishment seem to have a love-hate relationship. Their combined influence seems to keep anything from really getting fixed in the healthcare system.

    On the other hand, it’s the medical providers who generate these OUTRAGEOUS bills for care to uninsured individuals, but then except a relative pittance from the insurers for the lion’s share of their work. Yet somehow they manage to stay in business.

    For years I’ve advocated doing away with health insurers and replacing them with a single-payer system. Profit would be a non-issue, and a central payment function would be able to impose some consistency on charges.

    Then they could look at medical providers and force them by legislation to get real about what they’re charging.

    If other countries can provide good medical care, often with better outcomes, than we can, and do it for a fraction of the cost, then SOMEONE in our system is screwing the patients for profit — and the suspects are already identified. Until that behavior gets rooted out, there’s no hope.

  3. Britta Moore says:

    We can do better but with our profit-driven, lobbying healthcare network, it “ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.” Too many corporate, self-serving profit mongers and their respective lobbyists will never let “the right thing” prevail.

  4. annie pelfrey says:

    what other industry has no definite price per service or procedure?

  5. catsworking says:

    Annie, you are so right. When you walk into a doctor’s office or hospital to “buy” care, you have NO IDEA what you’ll pay for it.

    Britta, Obama got my vote because I believed his big talk about fixing healthcare. Instead, he threw us ALL under the bus and gave private insurers 30 million new customers. Rewarded them for being major players in creating the whole mess in the first place.

    Some say it was a shrewd move and Obama’s thinking longer term. Insurer greed will eventually doom them because they’ll bleed us until NOBODY but the 1% can afford care. Then the only option is single-payer.

    But in the meantime, we go bankrupt at the hands of the extortionists. It’s either pay whatever or do without healthcare. (Or go to the emergency room and get minimal care because you’re uninsured.)

    Ironic to the timing of this post, yesterday I missed the delivery of a certified letter from Bon Secours. I assume it’s about my Nov. 18 letter to the hospital CEO where I had my lumpectomy last June about areas where they fell short in delivering good care.

    On Nov. 28, they wrote that my concerns had been forwarded to “clinical leadership” and they had 30 days to respond.

    And now on Feb. 4 they tried to deliver their response? I’d like to know what calendar they use where their 30 days = our 68 days. One of my complaints was that it took them 5 days to let me know my mammogram was abnormal. Priceless.

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