Civil Discourse Now

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Obamacare: until October 1 companies will not offer plans for people with pre-existing conditions; what does that tell you?

   I have a pre-existing condition, multiple sclerosis. Sarah is a cancer survivor. We were soaked by health insurance premiums, of almost two grand a month. I got us switched to a PPO last year for a significantly lower premium, under $600 total. One problem is the prescription drug coverage is not nearly as good as what my policy had been. Nonetheless, that monthly number was lowered.

   Since last year, even after we obtained the PPO coverage, I have shopped for major medical health insurance. If one shops for health insurance on the internet (Google "cheap health insurance for a start), an array of insurers, or more likely places that handle multiple carriers, will pop up. I contacted a couple of those. I was surprised that the health insurance I had through end of June last year at Anthem was available to me for about $350 per month. The licensed Indiana underwriter who would come on the telephone after I spoke to the screener who took down basic information, always has stopped after I mention the pre-existing conditions. "We can't offer you anything until October 1, 2013," or words to that effect, always has been the tag line.

   Yesterday, as I worked on an appellate brief, I received yet another call from one of the places I had contacted or to which another internet place I had contacted had sold a list on which my name was listed. The intro robo-call was realistic. I thought the voice to which I spoke was from a human. After a couple of questions, it was clear the voice might as well have been from HAL on "2001--A Space Odyssey." I was handed off to a real human.

   After he assured me he was licensed as an underwriter in Indiana, and rattled off an official underwriter ID number, I said, "I can save us both a lot of time." I explained the pre-existing conditions, and added my understanding is major medical companies will not offer us coverage until October 1. He said, "That's right," and the line went dead. At least he could have thanked me for saving him time.

   The Republican Party, and the insurance company CEOs would take home those nice, fat bonuses for acquisition of other companies or for reaping bigger profits from their anti-trust-free monopolistic practices, have repeatedly warned us about the horrors of Obamacare. They have nothing to offer as an alternative. Senator Ted Cruz, during his filibuster, mentioned, about people with pre-existing conditions, something needs to be worked out in the marketplace. As an abstract notion, that sounds neat. All it is is an abstract notion. There has been plenty of time for the marketplace to work---but not fully. Health insurance companies are exempt from anti-trust---i.e.,, elimination of monopolistic practices---statutes. Insurance corporations are not interested in competition any more than other competitors in the marketplace. When competition occurs, it is about the elimination of competition.

   The October 1 date should tell us the insurance companies will hold on until the very last moment. If President Obama does not blink, then the companies will scramble, like brokers after the clock chimes 9 for a morning's trading, to "sell, sell, sell"!People spoke, in the 1960s, of how awful Medicare would be. Today, most senior citizens would fight anyone who tried to take away their Medicare. Also, Senator Cruz has a nifty position from which to criticize Obamacare. He has full federal health insurance. He is our employee. If he feels so strongly about the matter---and he said he spoke for however-many million Texans and 300 million Americans---then he should vote to give his coverage to us, his employers.

   On October 1, I shall rise at my usual early hour and hit the internet. I hope to replace my PPO with a major medical insurance policy on the platinum level.

   Saturday's Show will cover Obamacare. Is there an insurance agent out there who would like to be on The Show to discuss the topic? If so, please give me a call.     

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