End of year Bullshit!

I hate CoveredCa and their demands where they seem to think I work for them. When they’re sending me a paycheck, I’ll get right on giving them all kinds of detailed information about my life. Until then I’m going to be sending my fucking money to the damn insurance company. I resent like HELL the State of California demanding shit from me instantaneously.

Tell me State of California Would you rather I spend 10 days collecting bullshit information that you’ll be automatically privy to come January, OR look for a job so that I can continue paying obscene taxes to provide services to others that I can’t access? I know the answer, you’d prefer I wasted the time. I was asking a rhetorical question.

I got message from DAN (Diver’s Alert Network) that my credit card on record is out of date. Uhhh DAN, the renewal isn’t for 6 months! I’ll worry about the issue in 6 fucking months!

Nerri.jpgADT Oh hi. Gee you’re JUST now getting around to sending me a letter telling me that the Credit card you had was expired? WOW, it’s ONLY two months after you sent me double billing and a nastygram. At the time we had a lovely telephone conversation wherein I gave you updated information and you billed me a past due month AND two months in advance. Gee Thanks!

I’m stressed enough right now without SERVICERS forgetting that They fucking work for ME, not the other way around.

Yeah, I’ve gone all Nebari again!

Insurance!

As all of us in Amerika know. It’s open enrollment for our mandated healthcare plans.

I’m not overly fond of ACA, but it did actually do some good.

According to a friend who is an actuarial, there was a net gain in the number of people who previously couldn’t get health insurance now being insured.

I don’t know if that is still the case. It was true in 2013 – 2014. However it looks like the young people that ACA is dependent on, are staying away in droves in 2015.

Anyhow, I absolutely dread open enrollment. I hate having to revisit all the plans and really do miss the days when I just paid the bill and had insurance with an 80/20% split. I paid 20% the insurance company paid 80% and it was easy to figure out what was what.

Due to changes in the other half’s employment picture and my less than stellar year freelancing, this open enrollment has been particularly stressful.

We decided that we needed help. Changes in what is being phased in and what is being phased out confused the situation so that we weren’t sure if what we were doing was actually in our best interest.

SO we went to an insurance specialist who came highly recommended. Bottom line…

WE SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS SOONER!

Part of my insurance nightmare was that there were too many cooks in the soup. This guy called all the parties on the phone and declared HE is my agent and he had the ball.

Suddenly, Covered California, and Blue Shield were working together smooth as silk. Suddenly, I was paying a bit less for the same quality plan. Now instead of having to call one person, then another, and another, and get transferred to yet someone else, I call my agent. He takes care of everything.

The other half… is suddenly paying less than half what they were paying for much better coverage.

I’m still suspicious of something being too good, too easy, or too simple. We’ll see come January if our insurance is really straightened out and everything is on track for the year.

Based on the paperwork I have in hand… It looks like it really pays to have someone who knows how Obamacare works in your pocket.

That in itself speaks volumes about Obamacare and it’s complexity.

If the Republicans succeed in gutting ACA I fear we’re all going to be horrifically screwed. The insurance system is not capable of absorbing another significant disruption. Much as I hate to say it, Obamacare is here to stay. Congress should be forced to concentrate on fixing the parts that are broken.

 

 

Yippee! I’m one of the People Anthem has Screwed again!!!!

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As expected, I got the “We’re Sorry” message from Anthem.

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Honestly I’d rather have them pony up the money for two years on my existing LifeLock membership rather than someone I’ve never heard of. 

At least The credit fixing service is based in Texas and not off shore. I note that the product Anthem is signing us up for is identity repair, NOT Identity theft monitoring.  Since there are a lot of children who were covered under Anthem Policies, Two years of repair is next to useless since children are unlikely to know that their identities have been compromised for possibly decades.

I have no children to protect in this situation, I mention it because the hot ticket in ID theft today isn’t adults, it is in fact children. The crime goes un-noticed for years and by the time a child or their parents figure out something is amiss it’s a sisyphean task to correct the damage.

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It’s my opinion that this email and Anthems 2 year plan is nothing more than corporate hand waving to make it look like they’re taking responsibility for their carelessness, and that they’re taking corrective action.  

I strongly suspect that the measures Mandiant suggests will be deemed as “Too Costly” especially when it’s far cheaper for them to say “We’re sorry” and pay for credit repair that most people won’t take advantage of.

My suspicion is based on experience with large corporations, as an employee and as a victim of ID theft. 

As an employee I’ve sat in meetings where cyber security was discussed and watched executives choose to risk private data (Credit, SSNs, Addresses, Phones, credit ratings, you name it…) because a breach was less expensive to deal with than spending the money on infrastructure upgrades.  The infrastructure has to be constantly upgraded and results in a year over year line item on the budget, whereas a breach is a “one time” expense and since it’s technically a “loss” it’s apparently got a more favorable tax position. 

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Ironically, the same company then lost an HR laptop that contained the whole employee database. We’re talking thousands of employees worldwide and that database residing on a laptop was in violation of the policies and procedures of the company.  Once again the response was, “We’re sorry” we’ll pay for credit repair and monitoring.

Every time I hear of another data breach and the inevitable “We’re Sorry”, I can’t help but see the South Park episode where the oil company drilling has opened a dimensional portal and allowed Cthulhu access to Earth and ushered in 1000 years of darkness…

I didn’t include the whole memo from Anthem, it was pointless. 

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Bottom line is that in addition to the three or four companies that I worked for and who allowed my data to be stolen, The couple of banks where my information has been stolen, now my data has been stolen from an insurance company.  They say they don’t believe my health records, or my credit information has been stolen but they’re less than convincing about it.

When I couple their data breach with the sudden uptick in healthcare related SPAM I have to wonder. 

My SPAM filters have been getting one hell of a workout since Dec 1 2014. I thought it was the usual bullshit running up to Christmas, but now I’m thinking it’s because of the Anthem breach.  Probably the quickest turn on the hack was to sell email addresses.

That would buy time for further analysis and allow full IDs to be pulled from the data, packaged and sold. I have no doubt that every single one of the records stolen from Anthem are already in China, Russia, or Mexico and that there are a ton of counterfeit me’s running all over the place.

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The NSA doesn’t have to spy on us, they can buy all the information they’d ever want on the open market.

Between Google, and data breaches I’ll bet the NSA is considering closing their sophisticated data monitoring centers. Think about the savings!

Yeah, I’m pissed. 

Anthem screwed me due to ACA, Anthem screwed me for an entire year of insurance that was almost completely useless, and now Anthem has screwed me again only this time the screwing will last for years

I’d honestly like to see their assets redistributed to all of us that they’ve hurt in various ways.

Maybe then Banks, Insurance Companies, The Government, and various other businesses would take data security seriously.


Update March 8, 2015

Almost Two weeks later, The Los Angeles Times published a more in-depth Op-Ed that makes many of the points I di in my post.  They wrote their article with only slightly less snark than I did.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-anthem-is-warning-consumers-20150306-column.html#page=1

My Schrödinger’s Insurance policy

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Seems to be my lot in life, my insurance is always a pain in the butt.

I switched to a provider that supposedly has a real PPO instead of the Bullshit PPO that was really an EPO my previous insurance provider was selling.

I’m not getting a good feeling. The policy was supposed to have taken effect on Jan 1 but as of Jan 19th I still had no insurance cards, and no paper communication from them. 

Do I have a policy at all? They took my money.

I called them and found out BIG SURPRISE I apparently have Schrödinger’s insurance policy.

I’m not surprised at all. The universe seems to like to play with me and insurance policies. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem except that I was trying to have a prescription filled.

I think I’m playing the part of THE CAT in this experiment! 

After an hour on the phone, many assurances, apologies, and stressing my jinglish translation capabilities… I think it’s straightened out. Either that or I’ve initiated 3 additional policies and purchased 4 cats.

I was able to pick up the prescription so that represents at least a little progress.


In the Misrepresentation Category 

There is still the matter of the previous Insurance and policy that has declined to pay for anything except routine prescriptions. This is the policy that was sold as a PPO but it’s actually an EPO, or perhaps an HMO. I call it a NOMO (No Medical Organization). 

This policy was supposed to include a once a year physical at no cost to me. They’re refusing to pay any part of that routine physical and FYI the cost of my annual physical this year is well under $1000  

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The funny thing about it is this. The cost of the physical and labs is $100 LESS than a single monthly payment which I faithfully paid them throughout the year.

It turns out I can mathematically I can prove that for at least last year, I would have been better off without insurance at all.

I saw my doctor exactly once. I’m guessing that the Insurance company made about $300 profit from me each month.

I’m hoping that the folks associated with this rip off plan burn for a while in the fires of hell. Not because of me, per se.  

It’s all those little old folks that purchased this bullshit policy in good faith and then ended up screwed because their medical costs quickly spiraled out of control. I’m lucky in that I’m pretty healthy, but what about those other folks that aren’t?

I know that the legal system can’t punish these executives I can hope that a higher power does.

Insurance AGAIN…

Shopping

I swear I have other things that I’d rather be doing. You know, living my life, taking a huge dump, jerking off, drilling my own teeth, (although Dr. F would probably be pissed off if I did that.) In short, I’d rather be doing ANYTHING and I mean any fucking thing aside from dealing with trying to sort out the insurance bullshit again.

Yet here I am, dealing with web sites Cigna (for example) that has incorrect information published about which providers currently take their insurance. Yep, they say my Doctor is accepting the Cigna plans, but turns out Cigna only offers HMO policies in Orange County and my Doctor doesn’t actually take any HMO patients from Cigna.

So who do I believe?

You know who I believe? I believe the lady that handles the billing and money.

Which leads me back to the bullshit of shopping policies. Anthem Blue Cross is right the fuck out. They’ve already screwed me for a year.

As it turns out Blue Shield actually offers a real PPO to people like me, and that PPO has no regional limits. However THEY demand a bunch of information before you even get a chance to ask them IF they sell private policies at all. 

They wanted to know how much money I was making BEFORE they would even let me talk to an agent. I pulled a number out of my ass. Then I’m talking to an agent that tells me I should go to Covered California, get a number of some kind, and then we’ll talk because I’m eligible for a subsidy based on the number I just pulled out of my ass.

This agent was all excited to tell me that I was eligible for a subsidy and something inside me twisted. That subsidy money is taxpayer money and honestly the unsubsidized premium wasn’t all that bad.  She was all excited about my getting money from other taxpayers to pay for my insurance.

Is it me??? Am I the only person that has a problem with this?

Pragmatically, she’s right in telling me not to leave money on the table that can effectively halve my premiums. But there is something so inherently wrong with this that I can’t wrap my head around it.

This is SOCIALISM, plain & simple. I’m greedy, I’d love to have someone pay my premiums for me, but I can’t help but think this is wrong. 

SO what to do? Follow my ethics and pay full pop even thought I can’t really afford it, or sign up on the exchange and get a subsidy even though I fundamentally disagree with the whole system. 

If I go for the subsidy, does that make me a sell out?

You know, I’m beginning to think this is all a SCAM

Healthcare Insurance Logos

Welcome to Open Enrollment! Your ACA plan is serving you… UP!

As I’ve chronicled over the past year I’ve been involved with a nightmare called Anthem Blue Cross of California.

A month or two ago I was told that I’d have to wait for open enrollment to change my health care, I’m still not even sure how that works, or how they think that is going to work. I can change my health care any time I want to, ALL I have to do is not pay the bill!

And speaking of bills… I understood having open enrollment periods when I was working for a corporation. That makes sense, it tends to allow the company to budget their expenses and keeps the employees from jumping healthcare providers each time they don’t like something.

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However, since I’m paying the bill, I’m the one buying the goods or in this case services, why do I have to screw around with open enrollment at all?

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Technically, as a consumer of the insurance service, I am the Insurance company’s employer. As such, I ultimately have the capacity (Or I would in a non-socialist country…)  to hire and fire a poor provider at will. Oh yeah, but NOT under Obamacare.


Anyway, I’m shopping.

I can’t see myself putting up with more of the same from Anthem and not being able to see my primary care physician, (Even though they said I could. Then when I found that I couldn’t, they told me he must have dropped out of their network. But I have a PPO plan, networks are irrelevant… Well apparently it’s not really a PPO and My Doctor was NEVER in the plan they sold me). Or not being able to find a dermatologist. (And neither could they within 90 miles of my location.

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You see, I’ve been paying through the nose for a policy that was at best only a catastrophic plan with prescription coverage because none of the doctors I wanted to see were in fact accepting the Anthem Pseudo- PPO. I could have saved about 1/2 of my medical costs per month by just having a catastrophic care plan, and paying for everything else out of pocket which is essentially what I’m doing anyway.  By the way, a catastrophic plan is one of the options I’m looking into.

Under the “Won’t get fooled again” premise I’m trying to compare companies based on how they’re rated by consumers. As I’ve been sorting through the data I’ve discovered a couple of interesting things. 

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1) Of five companies I’ve checked on thus far, only two will allow me to purchase their policies based on my zip code.

All of these companies appear to service California but apparently they don’t all service the county in which I live.  

Sorry folks I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. If you’re selectively insuring counties that means that technically I can’t move from one county to another until the next open enrollment period. Doesn’t that also mean that when I drive across county lines, I’m out of network? Either you sell in all of California or don’t sell at all. 

I recall speaking to some insurance agent last year. That person said that even though I could purchase their insurance policy, AND that my Doctor was in their network, AND that the policy and my doctor were compatible, I still would be unable to see my doctor. Their explanation for this was that since my doctor and I were in different counties, he would be considered “Out of Network”. I seem to recall not purchasing that particular policy.

2) I can’t narrow down if my county theory is correct without requesting a quote from each possible provider — this is significantly slowing down the shopping process.

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The upshot of all of this is that insurance shopping, which was always painful, has now become 100 fold more painful because there is no simple way to sort through the data to compare stuff. I have noticed that every policy seems to have an ACA metallic moniker;

Bronze, Silver, Tin, Rusted Iron, Busted Galvanized Pipe, Copper, Pyrite…

All of which mean the same damn thing…

I’m beginning to think we have no choice in policies, just a choice in the company administering them. 

In dealing with all of this bullcrap, I think that I’d rather pound my own testicles with a sledgehammer, (1000 FemNazis just came in their jeans) than shop for health insurance!

I just don’t think I have medical coverage for that…