18
Sep
08

Belly Bumping

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is an enormous provider of health care insurance coverage. It’s also one of the most universally accepted plans in the United States. BCBS is also one of the biggest plan providers for Federal government employees under the FEP Blue program. That premium is over $6 BILLION a year and rising. FEP Blue is administered by the BCBC association directly, as opposed to one of the regional units. Well, BCBS has my wife pissed. And she does not easily get pissed towards companies. People yes, companies she views as faceless. But she is pissed.

FEP Blue has been our insurance carrier of choice for many years now. Yes, federal employees and their families are able to acquire attractively priced coverage that is accepted just about everywhere because the group is so large. That’s a benefit. Our kids receive their health care from Texas Childrens Hospital Pediatric group. Not after this coming March. Even though Texas Childrens is one of the very best and widely recognized service providers for kids, they have chosen to drop BCBS’ FEP Blue because they cannot agree on what the “discounted” service rate will be. My wife is not at all happy about having to find new pediatricians for our girls. I was about to offer to help and research, but have decided to stay out of this path of anger for a bit.

I really do understand that this is about two giant corporations flexing their muscles to see who will force the other into submission. It’s actually happened several times before and will likely resolve before the March deadline. I don’t care who wins. I just want my wife to be less agitated and my girls to not have to “get comfortable” with new doctors. Please.

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2 Responses to “Belly Bumping”


  1. September 20, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Do NOT get me started on BCBS. I blame them for the entire medical mess we have today. Not only are they responsible for the inaffordability of medical, but I blame them for the inaffordability of individuals buying their own insurance.

    Like I said… Do. Not. Get. Me. Started.

    And if I didn’t mention already, I may be irrational on the subject of insurance in general, health insurance in particular. Just a warning. 🙂

  2. September 20, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Well… It is a good conversation to have! I’m not intentionally trying to rattle your cage, but… Health care coverage is not insurance. It’s simply a method to expand the cost of paying for health care over time and a large group. Health care is pretty damn expensive everywhere in the world. Even those places with “free” health care. Those “free” places have an enormous tax base that supports the system. You just don’t feel the hospital bill directly.

    IMO, there is no single aspect that is responsible for the high cost. There’s a huge number of participating dynamics. There’s the cost of education, resources, and expertise. There’s the cost of administration, legislation, regulation and litigation. There’s the cost of usage, too (those with no coverage going to the “public” ER for a case of the sniffles). It’s not a conspiracy, but it certainly is a conflagration. Love them tion’s…

    What should be, according to me, is this: People should carry “insurance” for catastrophic coverage just like they do for their cars and their homes. These are extraordinary expenses that are unanticipated. The coverage is provided with an appropriately high deductible… it’s not for regular care. Regular/routine care should not be as expensive as it is. I do not have any idea how to get it’s price down, but regular care should be like groceries. You need to buy a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs… there’s no insurance policy for those regular things. You need to get a doc to sew up a cut? It’s routine and regular… it should not cost $500 (discounted to $237 on BCBS with a $15 co-pay)… you shouldn’t need a “plan”. It’s $4 worth of supplies and 10 minutes of doctor/nurse time. Let’s call it $50 and be done. But I know I am dreaming because the medical behemoth isn’t going away any time soon.

    I do like the idea of these “Minute Clinics” that are starting to pop up all over. Routine things like cold/flu, first aid, etc. are handled by PA’s and nurse practioners in convenient locations with reasonable prices. If more people would take responsibility for taking care of themselves and start using appropriate responses, such as these Minute Clinics, we might start a trend, a movement (sorry for the Alice’s Restaurant thing…).


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