“Even though I have by most definitions good coverage — about $400 per month covers me and my daughter, with a $2,500 deductible for each of us — I’m afraid that I still have to count myself among the underinsured, if only because there’s nothing to stop my out-of-pocket cap from being raised to whatever Blue Cross feels like raising it this spring.
“They can’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) that’s considered “a benefit.” 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 can’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.