Friday, August 24, 2007

Sick Now?

Sick now? Droop now? This sickness doth infect the very lifeblood of our enterprise.

-- King Henry the Fourth, Part I (Hotspur at IV, i).

Oh you wacky insurance companies. You desperately want our money and tell us that we need you in order to stay well...and then you screw us.

The quote by Shakespeare makes sense if you plug in insurance company for enterprise.

There's something so backward about the fact that we are punished if we get sick, and we are punished if we don't get sick. It's insane.

Let me make this clear: I have not seen Sicko, so this rant has nothing to do with what Michael Moore went through in this film. (Side note: Canada has been running articles about how, though they are flattered, the system isn't as good as he says it is.)

No, this is a personal rant.

Though I am a teacher, I am required to take the health insurance my union bargained for and won. I cannot deny it.
My plan sucks. It's not the worst, but there are many issues to it.

My wife, who works for a corporation that makes medical devices, has fantastic insurance. Basically, if she wanted to, she could get a body scan every month and be covered. That's amazing. With my insurance sucking and my wife's so great, we put my son on her insurance. Every time we go to the pediatrician, it costs us $20 a visit. That's not bad. His recent surgery was completely covered by her insurance. Again, to me, that's amazing.

So, why am I angry? Because my insurance left me out to dry. At the beginning of the summer, I got sick. I decided to go to Urgent Care for help (it was in the same building as my son's pediatrician, and I had almost fainted during his appointment). The doctor there had no clue what was wrong with me, so he and the nurse ran a bunch of tests. It could have been Mono, or it could have been Strep. They weren't sure, so they ran the tests. It turned out it was some sort of virus which could be cured by Amoxocillan.

Flash forward one month: I get a bill from my insurance company, and they covered nothing. NOTHING! I had to pay for the visit out of pocket. Why? They felt the tests were unnecessary. I appealed. If not for the tests, how would I know what drug to take? The company disagreed. The doctors, without giving me tests, could have just given me Amoxocillan and made me better. The tests were padding for which the company would not pay.
I have never been turned away from a hospital with my insurance, so I am lucky in that sense, but before this, I have never had to pay anything but a co-pay.
Even my dental plan is a joke. I went for my check-up recently and had to get new x-rays. The dentist discovered that I have what he calls, "a dying tooth." There is nothing on the outside that looks bad, but the tooth seems to be dying on the inside. He has no idea why. He also isn't sure that it can be saved. Basically, I'll either get a root canal to "stem the tide of its death," or I'll need a fake tooth.
On the bright side I'm going to be part of the doctor's final (he's retiring, which keeps my streak of removing dentists alice) writing. He's going to write about me and the tooth as it is, "unique and fascinating." Woo-hoo.
We have gotten to a point where we cannot get sick anymore as we cannot afford it. That's the truth. Lawyers and insurance companies will be the downfall of American society. Mark these words.
Then again what do I know? I have a dying tooth and a cold, so my insurance company says I am a liability. I could be wrong.

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