Blog Post In Which I Get On My Health Insurance Soap Box And Refuse To Come Down

I’ve learned a lot about health insurance over the last several months. The basic take-home message: our private health insurance options suck. Period.
When I left my government job to join Lee at Heideldesign, I also left our government benefits behind. I haven’t regretted the decision to leave once, but finding adequate private health insurance was tougher than I expected.
I did a lot of research online, talked with friends, and even asked a couple of doctors for recommendations. I was surprised by how difficult it was to find an insurance plan with maternity benefits. We wanted to keep our options open in case we wanted to have another child at some point, but many plans simply didn’t offer maternity coverage. The ones that did seemed outrageous. One company had decent family plans, but maternity coverage alone would cost an extra $160 per month, and the MAX it would pay out in maternity benefits was $4,000. I know with Camille, my OB/GYN bill alone was $6,000, and that didn’t include the hospital stay and associated surgical charges. Four grand is a drop in the bucket.
We finally applied with Assurant Health Care, and while the coverage wasn’t as good as my state benefits plan, we felt we could live with it. The application process was long and painful, but finally – my last day at work in my old job – we got a call from Assurant. Basically, they said congrats, you’re covered! Except…
No coverage for Lee’s allergies or any related sinus trouble. No coverage for anything having to do with Camille’s ears (there is a good chance she could have to have her tubes replaced at some point and that would be a hefty bill to pay out-of-pocket). And no coverage for a c-section.
Well that’s crap, because my doc has already told me I have no option but a c-section if we have another baby. I asked them, “So you’re basically telling me your maternity coverage is worthless to me?” “Yeah. Sorry.”
I was so mad. They had, in essence, denied us. I mean, what good was their so-called coverage if it wouldn’t actually cover the things we’d be most likely to need? Here I was, willing to pay steep prices for private health insurance, and getting such a crappy deal. And I was terrified the next company would give us the same answer.
Finally, we were accepted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ga, with coverage for Camille’s ears and maternity benefits that don’t exclude c-section (still no help with Lee’s allergies). Our health insurance bill is considerably higher than my car payment, and even so, we’ll still each have to spend a couple thousand dollars in a year before we get a penny in assistance for anything other than checkups. But if something major happens, I feel much better to know we’re covered. And I was pleased to find out that all our regular physicals and checkups are covered, so at least they’re encouraging preventive care.
I don’t know the answer to all our healthcare problems, but it’s much easier for me to understand now why so many people are uninsured. It’s tough to get accepted, and tough to pay the premiums. Our country ought to be able to do better.