Wednesday 15 June 2016
If you've been following along at home, you know that after my formal complaint to the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, my health insurance provider (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia) agreed to allow me to initiate a exemption request to change from my current health insurance plan to something that I could use in a local hospital. Turns out there was a catch: none of my local hospitals accept BCBSGa insurance plans.
As I said last time, Coweta County's Piedmont Newnan Hospital says publicly they take BCBSGa plans, but none that anyone has access to. Piedmont also owns the next closest hospital, Fayette County's Piedmont Fayette Hospital, so that's not an option, either. Neither is Fulton County's Grady Hospital, where all out-of-county residents are required to pay out-of-pocket for all services to be rendered up front. I called Tanner Medical Center in Carroll County and was told that they didn't not accept my current BCBSGa Pathways plan, but they do take OpenAccess plans.
That should be that, I thought. I just need to change to an OpenAccess plan. The BCBSGa representative who had been trying to help me set me straight. She explained that Tanner Medical Center, like Piedmont, didn't actually take any modern OpenAccess plans. She cushioned that blow with the statement, "Our records indicate that Tanner Medical Center does have an open contract with us for the Pathways plan, but" — wait for it — "if they are telling you that they won't process claims against that plan, we can't make them." Sigh.
Before I could even ask if I could be placed on a grandfathered OpenAccess plan that might be useful to me, she volunteered, "If we offered it to you, we'd have to offer it to everyone." She has a point. It would defeat the whole purpose of health insurance to offer anyone a plan they could actually use.
So in the end, I decided to keep my current plan, at least for the time being. Theoretically, it will help me if I end up in an auto accident on my way to a football game in Athens, GA. Maybe by the time open enrollment rolls around in November, my local hospitals will have figured out what health insurance plans they will actually accept. I won't hold my breath. I can't afford to risk passing out and being sent to a hospital.