I’m no stranger to the pitfalls of health insurance, but yesterday I had one of the worst experiences yet with my policy. I pay a huge amount of money every month for coverage in exchange for what appeared on paper to be a solid policy as far as health insurance goes. I changed policies within the same company for the new year to avoid a $300 per month increase in monthly fees, and chose a new policy that seemed very similar with a few minor changes like the deductible and out of pocket max. Then I tried to actually use the policy, and what a hell of a rude awakening.
For starters, it only covers one local hospital—not the one five minutes from my house. It also doesn’t cover the orthopedic institute that I’ve been going to for years for my neck and back issues. I was fuming. I’m guilty of not checking the provider directory before enrolling in the policy, but I assumed that since it’s an expensive policy in the same tier as my former policy (platinum) AND it’s with the same company, I’d be fine. Not even close.
I decided to wait until I got home to deal with the particulars and hopefully change the policy while open enrollment is still active. I stopped by Walgreens to pick up my refill of the only prescription I’m routinely taking—Piroxicam—and was told by the pharmacist that my policy doesn’t contract with Walgreens. What? I asked for details. All he knew was that I’d have to contact the company to figure out where I could actually go to get the medication my doctor prescribed. I went from feeling angry to feeling completely enraged. My expensive health insurance had rapidly become a barrier to my good health.
After a lot of phone calls, I was able to have the prescription transferred to CVS and to cancel my policy and activate a new one effective February 1. But if I’d figured out what a rip-off my insurance was after open enrollment closed, I’d have been screwed by that policy for at least six months. In effect, I would’ve been forced to use a hospital system that I don’t ever want to use. Just because a hospital is covered doesn’t mean I should be forced to use it when I need medical care. I’m so disgusted. For-profit companies that we pay huge monthly premiums to should not have a say in where we go for healthcare and medications, especially when the providers we want to use are in our hometown. My new policy will cost almost $300 more per month just so that I can continue to use doctors I’ve known for years. If there’s a word stronger than disgust, I feel it.