Wednesday 4 May 2016
When I went to fill my cavity-prevention prescription medicine last month, I was told that my current Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) insurance plan wouldn't cover any of the cost, so I was forced to pay $21 for a tube of toothpaste. Irritated that my health insurance was providing me no benefit on the one prescription I have, I decided to get some value out of the plan and called my doctor for a physical. "Sorry," the receptionist said, "but we don't take accept your plan." That was news to me.
See, back in October, I was told by BCBSGa that my previous coverage was no longer "ObamaCare" compatible. My old plan was being killed off, and if I took no action, I would automatically be enrolled in a new plan that offered less coverage at a cost increase of 105% of my current premium. Nuts to that, I said.
Like a good little worker bee, I did some research. I looked at alternative plans on the federal healthcare exchange, BCBSGa.com, and a few other websites but not on the federally recommended Georgia Healthcare Exchange because there is no such thing — fuck helping the public, says the current state government, this is about ideals! In the end, I ultimately selected a "Pathway HMO" plan on BCBSGa.com that was nearly identical to the plan that BCBSGa wanted me to take, but without a $30/month out-of-network card. (Why would I need that? I'm a homebody. How often would I be outside of my network?) I ended up paying only an 80% increase in my previous premium. What a deal!
Which brings us back to my former doctor. When I checked in October (and again last week), he is listed as accepting my coverage on the BCBSGa.com "Find a Doctor" website. If you call BCBSGa and ask for a list of doctors who actually take my current plan, as I did on April 29, he's on that list too. However, I have since learned that he was not accepting this plan in October, and he still doesn't. In fact, no doctor working for Piedmont Healthcare does or ever has. That includes the local hospital, Piedmont Newnan Hospital, which despite indicating on its website that it takes Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO insurance, doesn't actually accept my plan. (I confirmed this information only after a telephone call to the hospital in which I was transferred 5 times by people who kept insisting I should ask my lying insurance company instead of Piedmont Healthcare.)
Why am I paying a monthly premium for health insurance for a doctor I can't see and a hospital I can't use and a prescription I have to pay full price for? Why is the information that both the insurance companies and the healthcare providers refer me to inaccurate or misleading? I'm beginning to understand why so many people seem to be willing to vote for Bernie Sanders.
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