Monday, September 19, 2005

Newsflash: Insurance Companies Don't Like Sick People

For the second time in my life I've received a letter from Blue Cross (my health insurance company) asking about my health insurance coverage. It's a really politely worded letter which helpfully states "WE ARE MISSING IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND NEED YOUR HELP TO PROCESS YOUR CLAIMS CORRECTLY!" Note that they don't say they need my help to PAY my claims. It is quite obvious they are clutching at straws to get out of paying for all or part of my health care.

The first time this happened was in 1998 or so. My employer had just changed insurance providers, so I was a new Blue Cross "customer". Within a few months I had a run of bad health luck and ended up with pneumonia and several other treatable conditions right in a row. I then received a letter which was similarly politely worded, asking if I had insurance prior to becoming a Blue Cross customer, and if so could I please provide my old insurance information. This was an obvious attempt to avoid paying due to pre-existing conditions, something they can't do if a patient had insurance previously. Their computers must have seen a pattern: Doug becomes a Blue Cross customer, and bang we have 5 or 6 claims in a row - please try to weasel out of paying.

At the time, my company had changed health insurance providers several times, and we had even been with Blue Cross before. The only time I received one of these letters was when I had a run of claims.

Now we are in 2005. I've been with Blue Cross for a very long time, with mostly good health, and now I have a wife and three kids, the youngest being 2.5 year old twins. Well, in the last 2 to 4 months we have had a bad string of health problems - I had pneumonia again, visited the ER once, kids have been sick many times, and in general we've been a pain in the rear end of our medical insurance. So, once again Blue Cross struggles desperately to try to find a way not to pay. This time, they are looking to see if maybe my wife works and they can soak her insurance for some of the cost.

Do you or your dependents have any other medical insurance?

It's funny you didn't ask this until we suddenly have a large number of claims all at once. You're happy to take our money and my employer's money with no questions asked - it's only when a cluster of claims appear and you're worried about losing money on me that you are suddenly concerned with paperwork.



At 9/20/2005 6:47 AM, Blogger Utter Doul said...

Oooouuu, don't let me start on The Great Medical Insurance System! When I am in the mood to pull some hair out, this is my subject of choice!

I currently have a similar letter from Blue Cross and have receieved similar letters in the past. In fact, the wouldn't stop sending me those, even though I gave them all the information they wanted the first time around!


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