Saturday, September 19, 2009

State of health insurance for myself, and for the U.S.

Only a few know about this, but recently the company I work for decided it would be a good idea to audit employee benefits to see how many illegitimate spouses or children were receiving benefits. This was conducted randomly, and not to the whole of the company. In June they claim they sent out a packet of information including the audit materials. In July they claim they sent a follow-up reminder postcard. They sent them via standard First-class bulk-rate mail. Well, I didn't receive these.

Once I didn't respond to the survey they claim they sent, they interpreted this to mean that I didn't want the dependents listed on my account to get benefits anymore. So, the company took it upon themselves to cancel their coverage, which includes health insurance, dental, vision, prescription medications, and life-insurance beneficiaries. The company didn't see any need to phone me at any of the phone numbers they have for me to see if something had been forgotten, or if there was a problem. They just canceled my family's coverage without my knowledge or consent.

Then after they had canceled my family's coverage, my wife needed medical attention. When she got to the hospital, our insurance was declined (as it had been canceled without our knowledge or consent). It was over the weekend, so of course every office was closed. When I called on Monday they informed me that their systems show it was mailed, along with the changes they decided to make to my insurance plans without my consent or knowledge. They continued to repeat over and over again that they mailed it, and that it had the information concerning the ramifications of not returning the audit. But of course, as I mentioned, I never got the forms.

Additionally they cannot prove receipt, since they refuse to use certified mail or any parcel service that requires signature on delivery. They claimed on the phone that they didn't have my phone numbers, which are on my profile on their system. They also claimed that my managers should have informed me of the audit, which in reality they didn't know about it since it was random for 1/40th of the number of employees that my company has. I asked them to reinstate my insurance since they dropped my dependents without my consent, to which they said they couldn't until I proved that I was indeed married and that I was indeed the father of my two children. I asked them to provide another audit materials packet, and asked that they ship it via certified mail with proof of which they refused.

Basically the company is doing something that I believe is illegal. And this is not isolated to just me in this country. From denial of service to companies changing people's policies out from under them...this is the state of our private health system.

Most people don't understand how health insurance or the health care industry even works. Educate yourselves. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but only the 37th-best in outcomes. I will quickly concede that the plans introduced by Congress by President Obama's request may not cut it in the long term. But right now we are in a system that has already demonstrated that it is a road that will end, and we already don't even bother to care for 18-20% of our people.

How does health care in the United States work?

Stuff You Should Know Podcast - the above podcast is part of a 4-part series. Subscribe.

10 Health Care Systems Around the World

10 Myths About U.S. Health Care Reform Proposals

How Health Insurance Works


  1. Really great post, man. Much as you hate the service, I linked to it from Twitter. :)

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