“Even though I have by most definitions good coverage â€” about $400 per month covers me and my daughter, with a $2,500 deductible for each of us â€” Iâ€™m afraid that I still have to count myself among the underinsured, if only because thereâ€™s nothing to stop my out-of-pocket cap from being raised to whatever Blue Cross feels like raising it this spring.
“They canâ€™t single out sick subscribers by raising only their premiums or deductibles. But they can raise the out-of-pocket cap, because (as a customer service rep explained to me over the phone) thatâ€™s considered â€œa benefit.â€ And of course, only sick subscribers even know what an out-of-pocket cap is.
“I typically reach my $2,500 deductible by January and my $7,500 out-of-pocket cap by February. This means that after I pay $7,500 in co-payments, Blue Cross covers 100% of my expenses for the rest of the year.
“The last hike was from $5,000 to $7,500 in 2004. My big fear now is that in order to make up for that $200,000 fine, Blue Cross will raise the out-of-pocket cap for my category of policy from $7,500 to $12,000 to $15,000 to $20,000 to God knows what. The ultimate aim would be for all but the richest sick patients to drop out because they canâ€™t afford coverage anymore.”
Werewolves of Wellpoint, by Catherine Seipp, PajamasMedia, January 9, 2007 (via Calitics)
Rest in peace Catherine Seipp.
If this isn’t an argument for universal healthcare, written by a conservative no less, then I don’t know what is. Just expand Medicare in stages to cover everyone, it can’t be that difficult. The health insurance companies can go into other businesses, like arms dealing or slavery; they’d be naturals.