Here's the brief, but important, background you need to know: At the end of July, I moved across the country from Los Angeles to Connecticut. I did so to be with a woman who I intended to be my partner in love, in life, and in business... Unfortunately, and without going into the sordid details, despite my best possible efforts; my dreams of partnership were... let's say....... not adequately shared.
This was a chapter in my life that I can truly say, I went into expecting a completely different ending. Yet as these kinds of painful experiences often remind me, life laughs in the face of the plans of men. I can't even begin to describe what's happened, and it would be pretty inconsiderate of me to get into much of it publicly anyway, but for me at least - it was devastating... So much so that staying in Hartford was just no longer a viable option. That city was a place I moved to out of love for someone incredibly special to me, and now it is synonymous with pain, betrayal, loss and loneliness. It was never a city I was moving to because of the city, and once my reason for being there was stripped away and my heart broken, it really had nothing more to offer.
|Where I am... Ish.|
And so far, the move has taken me away from drama and problems that have been making me miserable for weeks and being happier makes me more productive and a better person to be around in general... It's all been a big win so far....
However... Personal anguish aside, this move has presented me with a number of other significant and somewhat unanticipated roadblocks. For instance, I have had to get a new cellphone on an individual plan to replace the shared, "family" plan I was on before, and I've had a lot of other standard moving expenses, a few business hassles and of course a ton of personal trials...
|Good bye, lovely office :(|
Apparently, after just getting health insurance in the State of Connecticut, I need to (or at least, probably should) cancel that subscription and find a new plan in New York.
Yes... I know how absurd it is for people like me who have only changed geographical location by 70-80 miles to have to rearrange big expenses like health insurance - much less anything else - but thanks to decades of ridiculous anti-competitive policies, the minute I crossed that arbitrary boundary into New York state, I'm no longer legally supposed to have a Connecticut insurance policy - regardless of whether or not I'm pleased with the price or services as compared with my options in my new location.
So that is what it is... I've done it several times before, and each time I've been able to fairly quickly & easily find a basic (real) insurance plan that hedges against serious illnesses without costing me too much per month.
When I began searching for a health plan again in the state of New York, I discovered that where I used to have dozens of options for individual plans, now I only had six... And none were remotely what I'd consider "affordable" (one was over $900 a month!). I was confused... and while poking around a bit, I found a possible explanation for this sudden change. From Connecticut's Blue Cross & Blue Shield's website, I was informed of the following:
"Please note effective 9/17/10, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will not sell Individual health insurance plans until we receive final approval from Connecticut Department of Insurance on our plans that include Health Care Reform mandated benefits"I'm not entirely certain this is the cause of my problem finding insurance in New York, but this behavior isn't exactly uncommon among insurance providers and other health care professionals at the moment, is it?
I spent months writing thousands upon thousands of words on health care, and the misnomered plans to "reform" the system in the United States.
I'm not alone in this, but I can certainly say that I tried very hard to inform people in my immediate sphere of influence that the results of the bill that was passed would be uniformly bad as the already abysmal set of incentives created by the past 50 years of government intervention in to the health care market would be made catastrophically worse.
Thanks to an accident of fate, I am now going to wind up being a bit of a casualty in this problem purely because I have to change my insurance policy at the worst possible time.
In spite of the numerous times we were all told that if we like our current plans, we don't have to change them, that's obviously not the case. Granted, I'd have had to change my plan anyway thanks to the system already being set up as a cartel, but historically I'd have been able to find something comparable... And now I can't. Now as I can figure it, I have basically 3 options...
- Try to figure out a way to keep my CT plan and go across state lines any time I need to visit a doctor, or pretend I'm "traveling" to NY when I need care.
- Go broke trying to afford one of the limited options for NY health insurance that are available to me... or...
- Drop my health insurance coverage entirely and if/when I find myself in need some kind of serious medical care, and assume that in the 2,000-plus pages of mandates there really are those vaunted provisions forcing insurers to cover people with "pre-existing" conditions.
The funny thing about option three is that it's clearly the one that the new incentives most promote for someone in my position. I cannot afford the insurance options currently available, I don't really want the hassle or problems associated with trying to keep insurance in a state I'm not living in, and I know that my risk as a healthy, 27-year-old man with no history of serious illness and no chronic medical needs... So why keep the expense?
But the game is changed now... And not just for me... Millions of Americans are about to experience some serious disruptions in their health insurance.
McDonald's and a host of other major corporations have already applied for (and received) waivers exempting them from the new health care bill, 3M and a few others have already started dropping and modifying their employee benefits and insurance companies across the United States are already significantly modifying the options they're offering to their customers, for instance by dropping child-only coverage plans... Oh, and prices for insurance coverage have already gone up significantly!
Out of some pretty astounding and sometimes hilarious naiveté, a number of my acquaintances are employing a few different tactics to deflect any criticism of the law and the new incentives it created by alternatively pretending that no one is really making any changes, or admitting that things are changing significantly but claiming that the changes are all going to be good in long-run.
This is right in line with the double-speak coming from the Obama administration about the law anyway, though, isn't it?
Obama repeatedly said things (exactly) like this:
"Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you. First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you."
Then why bother with changing things?
OF COURSE the new health insurance legislation was designed to force changes to the system! That's the whole point... Why pretend otherwise? The answer to that question is easy enough: The vast majority of Americans were/are relatively happy with their coverage.
A few years ago, a Washington Post/ABC Poll found that:
"Among insured Americans, 82 percent rate their health coverage positively. Among insured people who've experienced a serious or chronic illness or injury in their family in the last year, an enormous 91 percent are satisfied with their care, and 86 percent are satisfied with their coverage."
Now, the same poll found that a majority of Americans were dissatisfied with the overall state of health care/insurance and they would prefer a single payer system... Of course, when it comes to single-payer ideas: