We all know that the health care system in the United States need some work. I am of the opinion that things aren't all as terrible as the media would make it out to be, but clearly there are problems that must be addressed. The Obama administration is trying something new with their changes and I guess we will all have to see if they help things. So far the only impact it has had on me is that my insurance policy is changed.
Every year my small company assesses the costs of their insurance. Every year the price goes up from 12-60% so they often have to jump to a new insurance carrier or new package under the same carrier. Every year this means less benefits. Recently this has meant I have to pitch in since my employer simply can not afford these cost changes. And this year, now that some of the Obama health care changes have taken affect my company has opted to stay with the current "grandfathered" policy. It will cost and additional 16% and offers some extra benefits guaranteed by law, and some loss of benefits so the insurance company does not have to change their profit margins. I use my insurance policy so I am not complaining, because without it I would not be able to afford my needed health care at all.
My issue is with the costs. Are they all necessary? Who is to blame for ridiculous costs? Is it the insurance companies, doctors, or drug companies that are gouging the prices? Or is it simply that costs to keep people healthy are prohibitively high due to the earth's population boom? I don't know the answer, as it may be all of the above and some other factors I have not discussed. What I can say is that I am surprised at some of the things I see.
Recently I purchased an Animas Ping, and they set me up on an automatic renewal service so my supplies are shipped to me every month. Since the purchase reached my insurance deductible of $2500 the supplies are now 80% covered. I get charged $118 a month which is something I can afford. With my insurance change this year I will have to pay out of pocket so in my research to find out what I am going to pay I see this:
$13.00 I.V. Prep wipes
$146.00 Cartridges (10 pack) x3
$ 540.00 Infusion sites (10 pack) x3
WOW! that totals $699 a month.
I was literally stunned and started sweating bullets. You see, my new insurance has a $10,000 deductible to meet, so I will be responsible for this amount every month. My heart starts racing, and I can't get to sleep. I decide I will have to go back to Lantus/Humalog injections as that cost is prohibitively high. After a couple of restless hours I get up and check online for store costs. What I saw on the Animas eStore?
$13.00 I.V. Prep wipes
$109.50 Cartridges (10 pack)
$405.00 Infusion sites (10 pack)
What? The NORMAL price for these items on Animas' own web site is $171.50 less than what they are charging the insurance company? On the one hand I am happy that I can afford this cost. On the other hand I am amazed that they can get away with this!
The insurance may have some kind of deal going that lowers their cost, but the fact that this is the price on paper is purely unethical.
Do you see similar things going on in your insurance bills? Hopefully this is a mistake, but I can see it clearly here in print.
10/10/11 - Note: I edited numbers to reflect prices for 3 moonths as shipped by Animas instead of 1 as I had done in error yesterday. The prices are now closer, but still deceptive.