Thursday, January 18, 2007

"We are Canada's Mexicans"

... when it comes to health insurance
It's obviously outrageous that tens of millions of citizens of the wealthiest country to have ever existed in human history are one cluster of metastasizing cells away from bankruptcy. Did you know that 25 percent of mortgage foreclosures result from high medical bills?

But there's a second, even bigger healthcare scandal that no one ever talks about. There are 250 million other Americans--those of us "lucky" enough to have health insurance--who aren't much better off than the uninsured.

Workers and employers pay an average of $465 per month each to insurance companies who use every shady trick in the book to avoid paying out claims. Pre-existing condition? Not covered. Don't want to drive hours to see a doctor who belongs to your plan? Pay out of pocket. Suffering from an unusual condition that requires the expertise of a high-priced specialist? Denied. You might think a chronic condition calls for long-term care, but to a claims analyst it's merely another excuse to refuse to pay up.

Every now and then, you luck out. Odds are, however, that your deductible will eat up your payout.

When an insurance company hack can't invent a legitimate excuse to turn down a claim they do it anyway. They play the odds, assuming that most petitioners, baffled by Byzantine voicemail trees, impenetrable websites and endless wait times, will be too discouraged to pursue appeals to rejections of their rightful claims. They want you to simply go away.


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