My Personal Trip to Medicare Supplemental Insurance Hell (Guest Voice)
My Personal Trip to Medicare Supplemental Insurance Hell
by John Crane
I turned 65 in October of 2011. Several months before that date I began the long, frustrating and convoluted voyage of choosing my Medicare Supplemental Insurance company and policy. This task was made more difficult and tedious by the lack of facts, ratings and availability of data on the insurance companies in the market. Each state in the country had its own list of companies available; there was NO standardization in the companies listed from state to state. In short, it was a researchers nightmare!
My research was further frustrated by the fact that Pennsylvania [where I live] offers NO ratings for Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance companies. For that matter, they don’t rate ANY insurance companies for ANYTHING. I had to resort to the statistics and recommendations offered on websites supported by other states, specifically New York, New Jersey and several New England states.
After spending nearly forty hours doing research on Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance over a period of two months, I made my choice of the most highly rated company … and then the Medicare Supplement division of that very company was sold to another insurance company … the company with one of the worst records in the country! I eliminated the low rated firm in the first few hours of my research. Of the national insurance companies offering Medicare Supplemental Insurance, only one other company was rated lower with higher rates of formal complaints in the state of New York and several of the New England states. [Two smaller regional companies actually were rated at the bottom in NY, but neither of those companies sold insurance in the state of Pennsylvania. As I stated, there is NO standardization from state to state!]
To further annoy and frustrate me, the two companies involved in the merger sent me a notice of the merger of their companies two weeks AFTER my new policy went into effect. I was unbelievably furious when I received the letter informing me of the merger! As far as I’m concerned, I completely wasted forty hours of my time and ended up with an inferior company. The company sale was finalized the very day that my policy went into effect, but, as stated, I received the letter two weeks later. Had I known of the forthcoming merger of the companies, I would have chosen the company that was my second choice [based on my research]. They certainly planned their secret little conspiracy well!
God only knows what will happen next in this country regarding health insurance, particularly if the Tea Party or radical Republicans take control of the White House, the Senate and the House. Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, we can expect head-on attacks against Medicare, Social Security, the FDA, the EPA, the IRS, unions, regulations and more, while further cutting the tax rates for the super wealthy and corporations. If that happens, I guess we can just change the name of our beloved country to U.S.A., Inc. and stack the sick, the elderly, the young, the minorities, and the struggling poor and middle class onto a special trash heap for the uninsurable and disposable.
We wouldn’t want the U.S.A. to be seen as spiraling into Socialism, would we? After all, it’s about deceptive marketing, Wall Street, quick short-term profit, multinational corporations, and “personal freedom”, right? The personal freedom to chose the health insurance company of your dreams, as long as you’re young and/or healthy, have the money, no preexisting conditions, never put in a claim and have a reputable insurance company with a conscience operating in your state.
Suggested reading for the uninformed or misinformed: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair [the book that shocked Teddy Roosevelt into creating the FDA], Silent Spring by Rachel Carson [which inspired and motivated the environmental movement, Wealth of a Nation by Adam Smith [arguably regarded as the "Bible" of the naively idealistic, unfettered, Capitalism philosophy of the neoconservative movement], Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand [textbooks often worshiped by the fiscal conservatives], and a lot of others too numerous to list in this article.
A piece of trivia: Denmark has consistently been listed as harboring the most contented and happy population on planet Earth; a nation with one of the most comprehensive and all-inclusive systems of social networks anywhere; one of, if not the most, egalitarian societies on Earth with the smallest gap between the poorest and the richest of its citizens.
Knowledge is power. Think about that.
2012 copyright by John Crane
John Crane is a A frustrated, struggling, idealistic, self-employed, senior citizen artist.