I just got back from the DMV after receiving a letter stating that my license and registration will be suspended for lack of insurance. Which I immediately screamed, "No way!!", since I pay my premiums on time. One of those WTF moments.
Car insurance is mandatory in my state-New York. You cannot register your car without it, so off to the DMV I went. I had all the proof-my policy, insurance cards, etc. It turns out that my broker decided to switch my insurer in order to save me money, and somehow, during the switch, the DMV computer spit out that I was uninsured. Which is true. My car, however, is well insured.
And that got me thinking.
Because I have to pay car insurance premiums to keep my car on the road, I cannot afford the health insurance offered by my employer. And my broker did save me money. Not a lot, mind you, but still enough to make the switch worth while.
You all have seen the commercials for auto insurance. Geico (a caveman can do it), AllState (you're in good hands) Nationwide (we're on your side) and others, all compete for your dollars by offering plans that suit your needs and pocketbook. If you are a safe driver, the savings are there. Don't want to pay a high deductable, no problem. Had an accident, well, we'll work out the terms together.
Mind you, while at the DMV, I heard a few horror stories about people being dropped by their carriers because of lack of payment, or too many accidents. But for the most part, car insurance is just one of those things we bear, making the monthly payments along with phone, cable, rent/mortgage and electricity. Anything left over and you get to eat.
Why can't health insurance companies compete for my dollars the same way the auto insurance industry does? Isn't that the reform Obama is talking about? If you are happy with you insurance, then there isn't a problem, but other carriers will have to compete with that company so that everyone should be happy with their coverage.
Public option? Well, since I do not have health coverage, I go to my county clinic where, for $15.00, I can see a doctor and get blood work and x-rays if needed. The wait is sometimes long, so I usually bring a book. But the staff is very nice and the doctors are very thorough. If, however I needed surgery or a prolonged hospital stay, I am out of luck.
Not so much the Medicare and Medicaid patients, who have access to specialists, and full hospitalization. Why can't I pay into that system?
Since all they need is the doctor's word that more care is needed, there is no interference with prolonged paperwork and approvals. I'd even be willing to pay a sliding scale fee for services based on my income. Why do so many lawmakers think that will be a horribe mistake?
I want to see CIGNA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, GHI and others advertise their coverage. Let them replace the worthless pharmecutical commercials, and compete in the open market, along with the public option.
Maybe I can't afford a high priced Park Avenue doctor, but I would like the peace of mind to know that, heaven forbid, if I needed the care, it will be there.
My car does.