Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Uninsured - Don't think it won't be you!

Today I got a copy of a letter a daughter of a friend sent to Blue Cross of California Insurance:

"Today I was notified that my healthy, young, family of four was denied further health coverage on our current plan because we went to the doctor for routine health appointments. We are not sick. We have no history of sickness. We work, we exercise, and we eat right. We pay our premiums on time. We were denied the most minimal of coverage.

As I write this we have no health insurance. I know we are not alone. In fact we are a rapidly growing population. What are families with even minor health issues doing? What are people with major health issues doing? Should I lose my house to pay the hospital bill if I have an accident? Is this the American way?

My children’s pediatrician that we have gone to since our children were infants had to close his practice and join an HMO because he could not afford to sort out the insurance issues while in private practice. My internist does not take any insurance at all anymore. I, unfortunately, cannot afford to see her now. I found only one doctor who was accepting new patients under my now old insurance plan.

Our “health care system” does not work for us. It does not work for our doctors.
Our country does not have a health care system. Whatever it is we have is broken.
Of all the things my taxes pay for, I wish they paid for a universal health care plan. I would gladly pay more taxes to go to bed tonight and not worry that if my child falls off his skateboard tomorrow I won’t have to choose between my next mortgage payment and his hospital bill. "

This is a story I have heard countless times and every doctor has spent hours advocating for patients, trying to save their coverage. Usually we fail. I have had patients be denied coverage because they saw me for conjunctivitis (pink eye) or seasonal allergies. I have seen patients denied coverage because they had a repeat mammogram that was normal. Patients are denied renewal if they had travelers diarrhea or just came to the office "too many times". If a person has a serious or chronic problem; cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis....affordable insurance is out of the question.

Lets's take our heads out of the sand, folks. The next denial could be you. I will endeavor to write more about our lack of US healthcare policy in the future and your comments and dialog are welcome.

1 comment:

K said...

I was denied coverage because I took a medication once that a person only ever takes once. Right now I've got coverage through my employer, but it's mostly hype - I still pay a ton for a doctor's visit outside of the $30 copay even if the doctor is part of the plan. I'm glad I'm still a student at SFSU, because at least there I can see good doctors (some of whom left private practice precisely because of insurance bullcrap) and not have to pay out the nose for routine, preventative care.

AGH I really do hate insurance in this country.