Medical Insurance Challenged

August 30, 2010

I’m not even going to think this post through, which in general I prefer to do, but I think if I did that I would probably not write about my condition.  I received a packet in the mail today from my medical insurance company with the following words on the outside of the packet: “It’s your anniversary!  That means it’s time to renew.”  I totally noticed the use of the exclamation point, which I’m taking to mean that such an anniversary, from their perspective, is a good thing.  I pondered, “anniversary of what?”
Don’t get me wrong, before I opened it, I’m serious, I did quietly say to myself, “It doesn’t matter what it means, this is where you are grateful that you have insurance at all now open the dang envelope and see what all the fuss is.”  And so I did.

The opening was gorgeous indeed:  “We understand that you have choices when it comes to health care coverage, and we thank you for putting your trust in XYZ.  We strive to provide you with comprehensive, quality health coverage.”  About that choice thing…well, never mind.  Let’s just keep going:  “This year’s annual renewal rate reflects changes to our standard medical plan benefits….” (Hey!  I thought they just finished saying COMPREHENSIVE!  My bad.)…”to comply with the requirements of the recently enacted federal health care reform legislation.” (I KNOW there is a fancier word for it than that, I just forget what it is and apparently so do they.  OK, a few points there.) “Some of the changes…” (OK, some but not all because the policy wonks haven’t quite translated it into lay persons language because bottom lining doesn’t always correspond with not-for-profit, albeit government agencies’ decorum…fine!)…”in the standard medical plan include no lifetime maximums….” (that sounds awesome)…”elimination of certain annual limits…” (ditto, in principle)…”and the expansion of the definition of dependents…” (I can only hope that means animals and in-laws who overstay their visits).   I guess at this juncture, and I won’t be quoting much else from the letter so you can breathe a sigh of relief now, so far this doesn’t sound too scary.

One transition sentence: “Please note, as we receive additional guidance and clarification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” (see above: when the policy interpretation wonks finish their translation services, for which we are indeed grateful and give those folks a raise)..”we may…(maybe we will, maybe we won’t)…”be required to make additional changes to your benefits.  At this time, we do not expect rates to be impacted by these changes. (So if I have this right, we won’t be impacted by changes we don’t know about.  I’m so glad I’m not a betting woman on this one.)

While only somewhat unnerved  by that transitional segue, I’m profoundly struck by the next, and for purposes here, final piece of information:  Plain and simply, “Rate changes.  Your rate changes are effective 10-01-10.  Your health plan’s current monthly premium rate is $757.90 (to wit I already still choke monthly and figure out new ways each month to work on that whole grateful thing) and your health plan’s new monthly rate will be $838.30.”

I think if I had psychological benefits associated with this premium, I might have a place to route some of what is coming up in me right now.   I’m pleased to be human right now and how that looks is: “Holy moley, this is absurd indeed! This is all kinds of new levels of absurd.”  Followed by, “They do know this is their baseline plan for a single individual who is self-employed, right?  Surely they do.”  Yes, I am fine about being transparent as to the real nature of these amounts because I do believe it offers one person’s story and that would be mine.  As I sit here live, hot-of-the-press and in the moment, I find myself going to a place that quite resembles a quagmire.  “I don’t want to afford this.  I need to afford this.  It is a new cost of doing business.  Business costs go up, individual business owners are most certainly not exempt from increases to the costs of doing business, particularly in the area of health care.  Welcome to the club.  Support your local lawmakers, do your part to make this transition to a new way of health care provision a smooth one.”

My next inclination is immediately to “So, how does this translate into a new opportunity for you to realize increases in your revenue stream?”  Easy enough: listen to your last post about “What if it were easy?” and apply generously here.  Sigh.  Suddenly I look square in the eye of wisdom and ask: “Oh, yeah?  Easy, huh?  Easy here!  I’ll give you easy!  Easy THIS!!!!”  Well, I feel moderately better.  So now I am SLOWLY transitioning to that place of recovering.  What is it that I need to recover to here?  What is coming up for me?  I will tell you what:  a temporary lapse in my abundance belief.  I almost went back to that familiar, soul-sucking place of a scarcity mentality.  The place of, “there won’t be enough….I don’t have enough…what if there is not enough?”  I’ll be darned that was another close call.  Another skirting on the edge of constriction, contraction, withdrawal, defeat, lack of trust, loss of faith.  So here I am at the choice point.  What one of my mentors suggests as a query:  “Which wolf are you going to feed?”  The wolf, in this case, of scarcity or the wolf of abundance?  Which of these will honor my soul, which will betray?  Sigh.  It’s still going to take me a few hours, maybe a day to answer that query, but my interior soul knows the answer already.  One of my take-aways here is that even as recent as a year ago this would have KNOCKED ME STRAIGHT ON MY BUTT, pulled the rug out from under me, dismantled any sense of progress, thrown me for a multi-week vortex….you get the point.  I didn’t know I was going to arrive here when I started this post, which again is why it was best for me to write and not think about saying anything close to “the right” thing or the” p.c.” thing.   Nope, I’m going to stop for a few moments and celebrate that I still have everything I need to face another day in earth school tomorrow and that I am headed more toward a place of recovery somewhat shorter than a month which will last longer in my cells than the $70.40/month premium increase.  Yep, that’s my new math.

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