A famous California governor adored by the Tea Partiers once said, "There you go again..."
Well, I'm no Reagan fan, but I am a fan of that quote: California Anthem Blue Cross, there you go again!
Or, perhaps, a famous Dunkin' Donuts advertisement is a better metaphor: "It's time to [raise the deductibles again]!"
However you want to laugh in avoidance of tears, Californians with Anthem Blue Cross "junksurance" individual plans should be bracing to pay more to their Wall Street masters come May 1st. More below the fold.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Anthem Blue Cross is raising deductibles on a host of its plans to keep premiums down (errrr...keep profits up):
But Anthem is notifying many individual policyholders that their plan's deductible is going up May 1. The deductible for the Individual PPO Share 500 plan will now be $550. The Individual PPO Share 1000 plan will have a $1,150 deductible. The Individual PPO Share 1500 plan will have a $1,750 deductible.
Of course, this strikes some as pretty damn unfair -- and pretty damn false advertising. A great analogy:
If you bought a Quarter Pounder at McDonald's, you'd expect it to contain at least four ounces of meat. If you bought a 32-ounce Big Gulp at 7-Eleven, you'd expect it to be, well, a big gulp of beverage.
So if you bought a health insurance policy with a deductible so attractive it's part of the plan's name such as Anthem Blue Cross' Individual PPO 500 plan, you'd expect that $500 deductible to be basically set in stone.
Of course, Anthem doesn't play by the rules of reality, it plays by those super fun "insurance company rules" that we all know and love:
Insurance companies can just do whatever the h.e.double.hockey sticks. they want. Is there any other industry in America that can sell you something and then take it back (rescission)? Pay your provider and then say they made a mistake and need to pay the provider less (post-adjusting adjusting of claims)? These insurance companies are literally spoiled children that can do whatever they want. Back to the Los Angeles Times:
What's especially troubling in the case of Anthem's deductible increase is the idea that a plan can be marketed with a relatively low deductible as its chief selling point, and then that deductible can still be jacked up after a consumer has signed on.
What does this mean for patients? Pay more, get less.
Berman, 44, said she'll probably switch to a higher-deductible plan offered by Anthem to try to keep her premiums at a reasonable level. She's considering the Individual PPO Share 3500 plan.
"Of course, who's to say I won't get a letter a year from now saying that plan's deductible is also going up," Berman said. "It's very scary."
It is absurd that big-profit health insurance companies like Anthem ever think it's a good idea to create perverse disincentives for accessing care by increasing deductibles.
Only in the sick, abusive, cruel world of Anthem (and Aetna, Humana, WellPoint and United Healthcare) does it make sense to encourage people to forgo a $55 doctor's visit that could prevent future hospitalization. When deductibles rise, people die -- and that's exactly what's best for Anthem, Alan Grayson-style care: 1.) Don't get sick. 2.) If you do, die quickly. Because, if policyholders don't just die after they put off care that ultimately leads to them getting really sick, well, then Anthem is on the hook for the really, really big bills. And the shareholders cry bloody murder when the medical-loss ratio increases one tenth of a percent to pay those bills.
You know, what if there were a way to eliminate all deductibles, exorbitant co-pays, make sure everyone is covered and have everyone -- both government and citizens -- save money? There is, and it's called California One Care.
It's time to put these bloodsucking bastards at Anthem and the other big-profit insurance companies out of their misery: it's time for California One Care, single-payer health care for all, for less in America's largest state. The world's sixth largest economy can't afford to keep hemorrhaging money to spineless, greedy paper pushers at worthless, unnecessary big-profit insurance companies like Anthem.
Say it with me now: everybody in, nobody out!
Well, correction: ANTHEM OUT! AETNA OUT! WELLPOINT OUT! UNITEDHEALTHCARE OUT! HUMANA OUT! BLUE SHIELD OUT!
Get out of California, and then get out of this country! We don't want you here!