Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The American healthcare system failed me...

This post has nothing to do with art. I'm sorry. I promise to resume posting on the stuff most people like to read about here soon. But this is something I've needed to say for a long time.

American health insurance has failed me again.

I've heard all the arguments for and against reforms to American health insurance. I've heard a lot of arguments for and against almost each specific reform. I'm not an economist, I'm not a politician. But I do know that health insurance is failing me, personally.

Tonight, I received an e-mail from yet another health insurance company telling me they will not accept me.

Until last summer, I worked a job that provided health insurance. When I left that job to move West, I continued that through COBRA. When the government allowed people under the age of 26 to get on their parent's insurance, I went back on my parents' plan. I turn 26 in June. I'm now looking for private health insurance. But I can't get any. I'm too high risk.

Of course, I'm "high risk" in insurance company terms. I'm the right weight for my heigh, I have low blood pressure, I don't smoke, I rarely drink more than 1 serving of alcohol a night. I haven't even ever gone to the ER since breaking my arm at 14.

However, I do have two pre-existing conditions. They're fairly mild (I've never needed to be admitted to the hospital for them) and I manage them with a few prescription drugs (all of which are on the formulary). In fact, I take a total of 3 prescription drugs, 2 of which are available as generics.

Apparently, this puts me beyond the pale for health insurers in the state of California.

Now, I haven't set high standards for health insurance. The plan I was just turned down for had a deductible of $1000 (and a prescription deductible of $7500, if memory serves). It didn't cover psychiatric treatment, or chiropractors or any other "controversial" treatments. I just wanted something that would cover me in case of an emergency and pay for a couple of regular doctor visits a year. And to pay less than $400 or $700 (those are the figures that COBRA ran me and the "High Risk" pool info I've received quoted me).

However, I'm too big a health risk for that.

I'm not asking for the government to pay for everything. I'm not asking for a handout. But I notice that the "free market" is failing me pretty consistently. And that everything that has been labelled government "interference" is what's keeping me from falling into that great big group of uninsured people that exist in the US.

If the free market can't provide options for a guy like me. then maybe the government should step in.

And if you think the stuff I've mentioned above are reasons I should be denied insurance, then you know where you can go.