Anthem Cut the Crap (Finally)

March 28, 2008

By Karen

After nearly 3 months, Anthem has approved my cheaper policy. It essentially rolls back my premium two years in exchange for me shouldering more out-of-pocket expenses. I don’t know if I’ll really come out ahead in the end, but right now I’m betting on continued good health.

Anthem put me at premium Level 2. Level 1 would have been cheaper, but here’s how that works:

In 2003 when I first applied, I took no medications and my health was nearly perfect for someone my age. Anthem made me Level 2 by dredging up an old stress fracture in my toe from too much ballroom dancing and a few other one-time things.

In other words, unless you’re 18 and have never seen a doctor in your life, you’ll never qualify for Level 1.

This time my Level 2 rating was for my “unoperated hiatal hernia.” That means it gives me no trouble and requires no treatment – but unoperated sounds scarier.

Anthem explains (bold emphasis is theirs), “Even if you are currently healthy and have no immediate health problems, your chances of needing medical care are greater than someone who does not have similar health conditions or lifestyle characteristics.”

They’re referring, of course, to someone who is already dead.

Apparently, that was the best they could do, since my harmless freckle and a blood pressure reading in the 120s over 80s didn’t pan out as crises.

They were so relentless about digging into my records, I really expected a bump into Level 3 to end up paying even more for less coverage. That’s how individual health insurance works.

So I’ll be saving $110 a month at least until December when they hit me with another huge rate hike and I’m back where I started.

I’m 12 years from qualifying for Medicare. If insurance companies are allowed to continue reaching for the moon for profits, at some point I could join the 47 million Americans who can’t get or afford coverage unless I find some employer to cover me.

Politicians of both parties, please, please, please end this nightmare. Passing HR 676, the universal healthcare bill that’s been sitting under your noses since 2005, would be a good place to start.

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