Thursday, October 10, 2013

The cost(s) of health and other insurance

One thing I miss about gainful employment is company provided health insurance.  Not only was it reasonably priced at the time, decisions were easier.  Now the GU and GE have so many more decisions to make.  And for some of us, more to pay?

So much is being written about Obamacare/The Affordable Healthcare Act and how it may or may not benefit the insured.  I’ve gotten several letters from my current insurance company, but have been waiting to pay attention to them until some of the hoopla dies down and the new ACA websites work better.  We may get more or less coverage than we had, but at what costs?

Premium costs may be clear.  But because the prices of treatments are not, even with my and some friends’ current insurance, who knows how much we’ll actually have to pay out of pocket, if, say, we need minor surgery?  How can we prevent those unpleasant surprises when bills arrive?

The time, energy and often frustration individual consumers spend to figure all of this out are also costs.  There are costs to businesses to implement new laws --from employers to all of the exchanges and companies providing insurance. 

I recently switched my condo and auto insurance after finally getting one of those quotes purporting to save me money.  Lo and behold, it did.  But it took me some time to be sure I was getting the same coverage.  The change seemed to go smoothly.  Until my former insurer didn’t respond to my cancellation request.  (When I followed up, they didn’t even ask why I was cancelling.)  Then the new insurer sent follow up papers I found confusing, with not much time to respond upon threat of the new policies being cancelled.

We are at the mercy of insurance companies and their policies.  I’d like to feel like a valued customer vs. a number.  With so many changes, so many deadlines, can that happen? 

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