Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I feel fragile today...

And violated...

Have you ever applied for health insurance?

Mr. Jenny and I are both self-employed and we have been for years. One of the big negative trade-offs of working at home in your PJ's all day with uncombed hair and cheeto dust all over your keyboard is that you don't qualify for group insurance.

And having a few too many medical boo-boo's over the past years makes it hard to get insurance independently.

So we have resorted to a complicated thing called Employee Leasing where we can get insurance in a group without having to go through the whole big enrollment process.

Only here's the thing...the price just keeps going up and up and up.

And so that we can actually afford to buy the pajamas and the cheetos necessary for self employment, we decided it was time to try to purchase independent insurance again.

Only here's the thing...

Insurance companies are ... ummm.... nosy...

And after you complete two applications you feel like you might be the lone survivor in a village that has been raped and pillaged by marauding forces.
And not in a good way.

(ha! That made me laugh!)

For instance, they want to know every single prescription drug we have taken in the past 10 years, who prescribed it and why. And I don't know about you but I have no idea what medicine I took for a bladder infection back in 2001.

They want to know every single doctors visit we have made in 10 years.

Two doctors visits that I actually remembered apparently triggered a red flag so that an agent called me within several hours of my application submission.

"Ahem...Mrs. Matlock. I am reviewing your application and you say that both your husband and you broke your feet in April of 2008. Which is correct?" I explain, "That is the correct information."

Silence.

"Ahem...Mrs. Matlock. Were you in an accident? If you were in an accident you needed to complete Addendum 12-B included under page 42 of the application."

"No," I explain calmly, "I reviewed Addendum 12-B and it did not apply because these were two separate incidents."

Silence.

"Ahem...Mrs. Matlock. I notice that you did not include any prescriptions for the time frame relating to these incidents. The correct prescription Addendum should have been 17-C included under page 59 of the application."

"That is correct," I explained calmly. "We both declined the prescription of vicodan offered at the time." (Yes, I know...what could we possibly have been thinking?!?)

Silence.

"Ahem...Mrs. Matlock. Did you notice Addendum 28-C included under page 73 of the application? It specifically asks if a physician has ever instructed you to take a prescription that you did not follow through with. Addendum 28-C also applies to medical testing you have declined."

I started losing my patience, so I crumbled up my cheeto bag right by the phone and say,"Oh no! crackle...crackle... You are breaking up! I ... crackle ... crackle... moron .... crackle... crackle..."

And I hang up.

I'm thinking that insurance company may not approve me which is probably just as well.

They want to know way too much.

Why is it important for insurance providers to know how many times I tinkle each day? Why must they question if I have floaters or sinkers? Can this possibly be relevant?

I wearily continued down the application until my head hurt...Yes, I swallowed gum once...but I'm truly sorry. No... I never ate my toenail clippings. Yes...I now suffer from depression but it only started about two hours ago. Yes...I am willing to get a prescription for a tranquilizer if suggested by my doctor. And, yes, I will record that on Addendum 17-C.

If you'll excuse me now, I must go. I heard that K-Mart is having a blue light special on both Cheetos and Women's PJ's!

I need to run over there right now.

I suspect we won't be getting new insurance anytime soon.

I definitely need to start stock-piling necessities against the day we can no longer afford them due to insurance premium rape and pillage.

Sigh...

post signature

64 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

Oh, goodness, I feel your pain! We have to fill out a health survey each year and the questions are a complete invasion of privacy! Not only that, they don't even allow a place for explanations, when the choices they provide aren't choices that describe me. God bless you!

Theresa said...

Oh Jenny, I knew I loved you... but Cheetos and PJs? I love Cheetos:) The Insurance companies DO invade your privacy! What bugs me is that when you pay them for YEARS and then file a claim... they don't want you anymore or charge you an arm and a leg! arghhhhhhh

Oh well, have a blessed day and stay safe! BIG HUGS!

Jojo said...

It makes you want to skip going to a doctor because once its documented a patient becomes a hostage to the system! So not right!

Debbie said...

Jenny you really should take up toe nail eating...saves the extra calories from the cheetos, and your finger tips do not turn orange. Insurance is horrible no matter what these days. Well thanks for putting a light hearted twist on it.

Jocelyn said...

They do this to totally discourage you and make it tooooo damn hard to get the insurance....

Insurance is so expensive and yes...would it not be great to fill out one page and then pay them these high fees!!!

You make me laugh....cheetos and pj's....a perfect combo!!!

Love ya girlie and hang in there!!

Meri Wiley said...

Dearest Jenny,

You don't want to get me started on Insurance companies. I've battled with them for over 25 years and I'm severly battle scarred. What ever happened to the concept that insurance was created to help and care for people???? All you had to do was keep your premiums up to date, and voila' you were covered.....at 80/20 of course...Hah....double Hahhaha..........

Well, I could go on and on, but I won't. Suffice it to say, I empathize.

Hope to get together soon. Love you,
Meri

Julie Schuler said...

I've gone two years now without insurance. We have a pretty good primary care clinic with a sliding scale fee. It's expensive if you have to get tests, but still cheaper than insurance! I give a big "BOOOOOOOO!" to insurance companies as well.

Ace said...

I'm feeling your pain/frustration. We were without insurance for most of the years we were raising our family...and somehow we survived. Now we have employer provided insurance...my husband is covered by the company, we pay a monthly premium for me and our daughter. The premium keeps going up and up and the insurance keeps paying for less and less.

Paula said...

so with you Jenny! however, I think when you say 'rape & pillage" you are being toooo kind!!!!

Lucy said...

This whole insurance system is so broken it's sickening. Those in power now are not coming up with the right answers either. The whole thing sucks bigtime!

ain't for city gals said...

Both my husband and I have Blue Cross for self employed..he has had his forever and I got mine a couple of years ago..we opted for the plan with the $10,000 deductable..thought that would work if something major came up..if I remember correctly it wasn't too hard to get...I just didn't go into anything..every day I threaten to cancel it because of the $$$

Terra said...

oh my you cracked me up and yet I feel so bad for you! I have individual insurance for a while, it was a sad sad state of affairs and it too had prices that just kept going up and up...and I have a feeling what you are experiencing is only going to get worse as time goes on (the process of getting insured - not necessarily the number of times you tinkle per day) I hope the sales at Kmart were excellent.

Lindsay said...

oo man this is funny and sad that its true!!

Mumsy said...

Oh Jenny, I feel bad about this insurance business..I didn't go to the doctor for the last 2 years, and still receive bills every month..I just don't understand it and have no time to fight with them..

Deb said...

It is only going to get worse...unfortunately....I do like your take on it all...

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

You had me at "working at home in your PJ's all day"...

Insurance sucks. Did I read right? Someone has a $10,000 deductable? I bitched about our $500 co-payment. Of course that doesnt include tissues and tongue depressors which apparently cost about 100 bucks each in hospitals...

Jeanie said...

How many times a day do you tinkle? Never mind....I was just wondering because some days I think I may be the record holder.
I'll be off to my little spot in the workforce in a few minutes just so that I don't have to fill out one of those applications...and I don't even take any prescriptions. Maybe I should check into one for the tinkling thing.

Catherine Holman said...

I'm feeling your pain! I've been away for my computer for a couple weeks but had to stop by to say hi!
Cathie

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I am living this right now Jenny.
This made me laugh my ass off this morning. Thank you!

I too am sitting here at my keyboard in my pj's because I work long hours and am self employed and apparently Blue Cross felt that paying $1093 a month for 2 people with no illness they had to raise our rates yet again. So now we are shopping. We have had no insurance for 5 months now. Sad isn't it?

I wish you the best!

PeggyR said...

Oh my don't just love people poking into your life! I know when Norm was life flighted to the hospital I freaked because I had heard life flight is thousands of dollars. The good news is he has great insurance from when he worked and what medicare doesn't cover, IBEW will thank goodness!

~Kristen~ said...

Insurance companies suck!!! Only you, though, my friend, can make reading about them interesting and funny!!!

Diana said...

Oh this was wonderful Jenny. Boy you certainly have their number! I despise dealing with Insurance companies. I don't even wanted to get started on that tangent, you covered it just fine! Love Di ♥

Dee said...

Don't say that you eat cheeto's or they will charge you more for eating junk food!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

I hate dealing with insurance companies -- I swear they are probably the leading cause of strokes!

Amber Page Writes said...

Gah. That sounds terrible! I've never had to go through that process, and hearing that, I'm not sure I ever would.

Maybe you could move to Canada, and work in PJs and eat cheetos while making use of socialized medicine?

Pondside said...

I'm self-employed too (contract to the feds!)but while I occasionally eat cheetohs (much prefer Hawe's Cheesies) I never fill out forms because we have (gasp!) socialized medicine. Contrary to popular press gloom and doom, I don't know anyone who has died on a waiting list, been denied service etc. When I need to, I call my very nice (chosen by me) doctor and go in to see her. No one has ever asked me the weird questions or asked about addendum # whatever. My wish for you is universal health care - it works....and then you could buy all the fancy pj's you like!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Oh me, oh my. I dread the day we have to get our own insurance when hubby retires. Oh my aching head!!

The Muse said...

Oh Jenny! Your phone discussion was priceless...Totally hysterical but yet...tragically so true!

It is a shame that self employment seems to be a bad word in some aspects of life. I have never understood that and frankly think it is high time that changed.

K-Mart used to have a pretty good hunting section...perhaps in the midst of Cheetos and pjs...you might want to stock up on some gear...

Or head on over to check the blue light specials on mousetraps and pesticides.

Keep that wit humming...it all starts with one voice :)

Marlene said...

Insurance companies DO suck the big one!!!

Socialized medicine sucks, too!! Been there, done that. Contrary to the experience of one of your commenters above, I do know people who have died while on waiting lists for CANCER TREATMENT. (I used to work at a cancer center in a "socialized medicine" country). GASP. I said it.

You, my dear, make this very serious topic very funny. You do have a way with words.

jen said...

There seems to be no solution for the self-employed, as are we. Not Obama's solution, that's for sure.

LemonyRenee' said...

Don't you worry, SweetiePie, great ole' Uncle O will be taking care of this very, very soon. He will handle everything and you will not have anymore problems ever again because . . . he's going to take your Cheetos away. Yes, that's right. You don't even know it, but your real problem is in the Cheetos bag. So he'll just take those and then you will feel so much better about paying for your own health insurance that you'll want to pay for 10 more of your very closest friends, too. Won't that be nice???

P.S. Fun write!

Tina said...

Funny post about a really irritating subject. I hate insurance companies and their making a profit from my illness. Completely unfair! I'll come join the protest with you, but only if I get cheetos too...

The Quintessential Magpie said...

You declined to take a narcotic and that makes you evil??? Oh, this is too much! Why didn't you point out that you were trying to save the insurance company on having to pay for an expensive and potentially addictive drug?

Unbelievable that they are THAT nosy!

Hugs, Jenny...

XO,

Sheila :-)

maggie said...

What a pure joy you are lady. You can write about something that is frightening, overwhelming and insane and bring the humour to it. Your post made me laugh so hard and still can't wipe the smile off my face. What a gem you are Jenny.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Oh Jenny been there done that and it was awful and I was in my 40's! Once my Cobra ends I will be either insured with a huge deductible or uninsured and praying. Things are such a mess in our world right now with health care.

Deborah Ann said...

I actually have a bag of Cheetos in my cupboard, that I've been comtemplating marauding for my next online writing gig.

Insurance - desperately want to be self-employed, but the insurance issue raises a red flag.

Good luck with that, and God bless!

Sami said...

Insurance companies have gotten so evil. And premiums keep going up and up, and it seems nothing is even covered anymore... they're all just in it for themselves, and the money. Sigh. And all we want is to know if we get sick everything will be taken care of! And all they want is to profit on our peace of mind! ARGH!! I want to punch mister Blue Cross right now!.... okay, I feel better. :) Hang in there!!

Sue said...

My son just went full-time psychotherapist (thereby losing his insurance working with the County) and is going through all of the things you describe.

I can't wait to have him read this post. Fortunately, he has a well-developed sense of humor about life.

As do you!

=)

Amanda said...

Ten years ago, when my husband was self-employed, we had major medical coverage. And it was so cheap. About $300 dollars a month for our family of five. We paid for doctor appointments out of pocket, and had insurance coverage for accidents, bad things like cancer, inoculations,"well-person" physicals, and physical therapy, etc. Basically, we had the piece of mind of knowing that we would not be financially ruined if something bad happened, but we took responsibility for our own health on a daily basis. This was before health care became a "crisis", and insurance premiums shot up, creating an environment of fear.

Dayle said...

I can't remember the last time a blogger made me laugh until I cried, but you just did. I don't even remember how I got here either, but I'll be back. And good luck with that insurance dilemma. The Man and I retired in 2008 and were able to keep coverage with the policy he had during his 33+year career with Houston Fire Department. It was reasonable. However, the election of a new mayor last year changed all of that for folks like us. We now pay over $700 a month just for insurance. Needless to say, I'm researching major medical coverage. Eek.

amariaf2000 said...

My in-laws are going through this right now! It's craziness and can lead to alcoholism. Hmm...I wonder how they handle that?

~angela @ peonypatch
www.mccalled.com/peonypatch

the thrifty ba said...

awesome story! thanks! (and good luck!)

Cheryl D. said...

I haven't read through the 41 comments you received (WOW, must be nice), but have you seen the movie "Sicko" by Michael Moore? According to him, insurance companies ask for all this info so they can use it against you later. For example, they'll happily take your money for the premiums, etc. But what happens if you get horribly sick? They have people to audit every last bit of your health record. If they find that you took a prescription drug that your forgot to tell them in your application (like antibiotics 8 years ago), they'll say you lied on your application and drop you. Just when you really needed the coverage. It's incredibly slimy and immoral.

I've already blogged about how unhappy I am with our health care. I would have loved to see more radical reform, not the stupid "fixes" we're getting. I have "good" insurance coverage and it has started to SUCK in the last couple of years. Everything they "approve" us for they later deny approving and demand we pay out of pocket. They pull the same crap with our doctors. I blogged about how my little six year old, covered in blood, got turned away from a pediatric after hours clinic because our insurance provider hasn't paid them for anything in months. Heck, we once took our then 5 year old girl (not covered in blood this time) to our insurance carriers own hospital, and they turned her away because they don't take children under 9. Then we got billed from the after hours clinic we went to because our same insurance carrier didn't cover her treatment (after they told us to take her there).

I could go on and on and on. Why anyone supports the current system is beyond me. Is anyone truly getting good coverage now?

Holly said...

That is awful and aggravating. Why is everything so complicated these days...oh yeah because if "we" don't have forms and signature on everything soon loon comes and sues for a crazy reason like the coffee is too hot or I did not know I couldn't remove my own cast with a chain saw...it is not my fault I cut my leg off.

Pixie said...

How you managed to make a scarey, stressful topic and make it funny is beyond me...but you did it!

And sending mass virtual hugs your way....it's either laugh or cry right?

Judie said...

When we were covered by Aetna, they started a program supposedly to help you maintain your health by meeting monthly by phone with one of their "nurses" to discuss your health issues. They kept trying to get us to sign up for this program, and I kept telling them I wasn't interested. But they kept hammering away at us. Finally someone asked me just what my objection was to the program.
"You already know more than enough about me, and I'm not telling you anything else!"
Cheetos are a serious weakness of mine, and so are cozy pj's!

Nadeen said...

Amen,Sistah!

Did they ask about stressful relatives too? That'd surely bump your numbers up too!

Why the heck do we have to fall apart anyway?

Time for 5 o'clock, methinks.

Amy said...

Oh, Jenny. You make me laugh so much. I found that insurance companies really are the devil... unless they need something from you. I worked in a doctor's office once where we needed their help and they were horrible, and rude, and just plain nasty. I later worked in a drug testing facility (which also did drug testing and such for life insurance) and they were like peaches and gold and everything nice. I couldn't believe the difference. Night and day.
Hope you get some super cute PJs! =)

Unprocessed1 said...

I'm with you! Not in the pajamas and cheetos so much, but with being uninsurable. My Steve will have to work until I qualify for medicare!

It's a good thing you can still laugh about it.

When will Obama's plan for us uninsurables kick in, anyway?

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Jennie Sweetie...
I just love you to pieces. Why must insurance companies be so **** nosy anyway? I am so tired of them calling and inquiring about something almost every day. I have told them a thousand times I am NOT supposed to be talking, but they keep calling. Hummm? I wonder what part of DO NOT TALK do they NOT understand. They have it on file DH cannot hear well, I am the only one who can do the talking, and I can't talk, and I have told them many times since my hospital stay we do not have a second carrier. Lord have mercy what are we to do with them?

What happened to the good old days anyway? I will be thinking good hopes and thoughts for you sweet one. I hope something turns around soon.

Did you say Cheetos and PJs are on blue light special? Maybe I can get DD to make a run over there for me. Now that I work in PJs from home too, I need a couple of new pairs. Do you think bunny slippers are on blue light also?

I love ya girl. Many hugs and so much love, Sherry

Busy Bee Suz said...

I agree...it is such a racket..they make you jump through hoops and ask why you are exhausted!!!

just wait till this new healthcare reform is implimented...ummmm you will be in good hands then. (sarcasmsarcasmsarcasm)

Linda Robinson said...

Funny but Sad... I know so many people who don't have insurance.. It is a crazy world we live in!

Thanks for the great Laugh!
~Linda

Jo said...

Oh Shizzle ... they really put you through the ringer ... hang in there friend ... put down the bag of Cheetos, they are probably turning your floaters/sinkers orange and that's just a whole other complication that you don't need the next time you try for insurance ... seriously, I feel for you ...

mbkatc230 said...

Oh my goodness Jenny, only you could make me laugh about health insurance. When DH lost his job, we were told that we could keep our current coverage for a "very reasonable" 975.00 per month. Now, excuse me, but did I not just tell them that our income was cut in half?
It's ridiculous. And I just love explaining to our employees why their premiums keep going up while their coverage keeps decreasing. We had to increase the deductible on our group plan at work to 2500.00 to keep it even remotely affordable. And I can't enroll in our plan until January, because DH's company had the bad timing to close after our "open enrollment" period. ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! I know all the words to the Canadian National Anthem, do you think they would let me in? Would they get rid of that nasty snow first? Hugs, Kat

The Words Crafter said...

I love that you can generate humor in the midst of all the hooey! Gonna send you some info email...and I got something for you over on my blog...

lifebythecreek said...

Oh girl. I feel your pain, in all of the appropriate places. *sigh* We, too, are self-insured. And last fall, after a stellar run of years and years with no real claims, I went through a review and got new policies for each of us (they keep telling me that it's cheaper to insure each of us individually as opposed to a family policy). It DID bring the monthly rate down to $2000... a MONTH. ugh. And then, this year? Well, both my son and I have had ER visits. Mine ended up with gallbladder/hernia surgery. And hubs has had an EKG stress test, amongst other things. OH, I cannot wait til October... let the violation begin. And yet.. withOUT the insurance? Holy wow... the amount we would have paid out of pocket is simply obscene. What to do...

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

OH!!!! sorry but...even in the midst of your dilemma...I am sorry...but...you...have...me..cry-laughing!!!! Stop that!
I hope that you get all that worked out! I must say that we are so thankful for the medical coverage through my husband's military service...everything was covered during when our son had the biopsies, chemo, hospital stays, follow-up scans, etc... and my hubby's robotic open heart surgery, medicines, recovery, hospital stays,etc...

Jenny...You are a veritable gem!!!!!

Blessings & Aloha!

Bonnie said...

Oh Jenny, I wanted to laugh but could relate so much. We just had a meeting with our insurance broker today because our insurance premiums are going up. We are self employed also, so there is a lot of red tape. Good luck!

Lourie said...

Seriously? Are they serious? You are not applying for a top secret national security clearance here. Good grief.!

BECKY said...

Jenny, I'm so glad I stopped by your blog tonight! (you know with my son having health issues recently, I'm way behind in my blog reading and commenting.) You made me laugh out loud, sitting here all alone in my home office, at 12:40 am CDT! And no, I'm not even in my PJ's yet...nor am I eating anyting...but I think I may have to go down to the pantry down and do a little searching!! I feel and hear your pain. I'll e-mail you later...maybe tomorrow...if I can remember!! :D

jfb57 said...

Oh goodness Jenny! Sounds horrid! *hugs*

Julienne said...

Today I received my statement from our medical insurance to say that I had paid $1800 for the year and that the government had subsidised the other $1500! I was so annoyed at the increase from last year!!!! I knew there was a reason I love being an Aussie!!!!!!!
Your answer is to emigrate immediately!!!!

Chatty Crone said...

Oh my gosh - my husband works to pay our insurance!!!!!!!!!!!

sandie

mub said...

It was such a relief when I moved and just qualified for insurance no matter what (since it's required by law in NL). It's certainly not a perfect system by any means but it's nice to not worry about that pesky bladder infection of 2001 being deemed a pre-existing condition and making you get denied coverage!

You should've asked her if you could get the Vicodin now since they were causing you more pain than a broken foot ;)