Monday, October 08, 2007

Another Day, Another Dollar

I got my end-of-the-fiscal-year raise a couple of weeks ago. It was the standard 3% that we apparently get every year, which comes to slightly under $1, or $80 extra in my paycheck. That's not bad...I'm always happy to have more money.

But yesterday I signed up for my 2008 health insurance package, and lo and behold, the same coverage as this year is going to cost me $67 more per paycheck! And for my extra $67, I'll also be getting higher co-pays on prescriptions and doctor visits. That pretty much negates my raise, and THAT pisses me off.

Maybe the only thing that pisses me off more than that, though, is that I got a letter from my employer telling me how lucky I was to be paying back my raise in insurance premiums and co-pays. How the average worker in Illinois is getting gouged WAY worse than we are, and we ought to be thankful that it's only that bad.

Do you think there's ever a point when they're composing those propaganda letters that management is ashamed? Or that insurance executives are ashamed? Is there ever a moment when anyone is ashamed of this mess??

Lori and I have 2 prescriptions apiece. All together between the four of them, we pay $100 a month in co-pays. That's a lot better than full price, but it doesn't console me that much. The seizure med I take costs about $500 a month without insurance, so my crappy ass insurance defrays a lot of that...but I don't feel much better. I think pharmaceutical companies are as evil as insurance companies, and I don't want either of them to have my paycheck. If I could go scrape bark off trees and boil it into seizure meds, I'd be out in the woods doing it. Oh, and I'd scrape some blood pressure meds for Lori while I was there.

I feel bad for the millions of uninsured people in the U.S. I was one of them for about 15 years and I know how scary it is when you have to choose between taking your kid to the doctor or putting gas in your car so you can go to work so you can PAY the doctor.

But the point is not which workers are being screwed worse by the insurance industry, the point is that the system is so fucked up that we're ALL getting screwed while Republicans crow about the advantages of a free market system, and insurance companies pay 3 million people in America just to deny claims of insured people.

Every month I go to the neurologist, and every month my health insurance claim is denied. And every month I have to get on the phone and fight the company that collects almost $400 a month from my paycheck to actually provide the coverage that I'm paying them for.

I think the U.S. insurance industry ought to be abolished today and replaced by a Canadian-style system. And I think every one of those people who's life work is to collect money for a service they don't intend to provide should be told to immediately get a job in which they actually do something to productive for a living, or they'll be denied health insurance under the new system.

Oh...and I think Congess ought to lose their cushy insurance packages and be forced to juggle their health care like the rest of us. Or lined up against a wall and shot. I'm still deciding which.



As a Canadian, I just want to say that the glorius Canadian Health care system is something of a myth. If you lived here, you'd still be paying $100 a month for your meds provided you had additional health insurance through work or Blue Cross and they covered some of your prescriptions. You wouldn't have to pay to see a neurologist, but you'd be damn lucky if you got to see him once a year, let alone once a month. Doctors don't want to work here because they can't make anywhere near the money they can in the US, so we have endless waiting lists for every specialist, surgery and procedure. I have to wait over a year to get an appointment for a bone density test -- but I don't have to pay for it. People are taking a long hard look at the system and are wondering if maybe we should introduce some pay-for-service elements.
Having said all that, I totally agree that insurance companies and especially pharmaceutical companies are evil incarnate. I don't think there are any bigger money machines on earth (except maybe oil companies) and they sure as hell aren't in business to make our lives better despite their facade.


You're IT --- I tagged you in my blog with the 7 Random Facts About Me meme.... just because I want to know some random facts about you.

Anonymous said...

Ughnnn - another fantasy bites the dust! Next you're going to tell me I won't be able to count on social security when I get ready to retire!!! Robin

Suzanne said...

Insurance company executives have no souls. I think that is how they are able to sleep at night.