Friday, July 02, 2004

Episode 1 -- Private Health Insurance

Sticking to my daily routine, I arrived at work around 8 am after dropping my son off at daycare. The anticipation of finding an answer to my family's health insurance quandry left me breathless as I jogged up the stairs to the second floor. Plugging the laptop into the wall, I knew it would be a few minutes until Mozilla would be running, but I waited anyway. Watching the cryptic messages scroll by on my Linux laptop as it booted seemed to take forever. That stupid PCI hotplug ought to be faster.

Finally, a login prompt. I was just a username, password, and a few commands away from checking my e-mail.

With Mozilla finally on the screen, it was just a matter of minutes before I would see that my son and I were approved for private health insurance under a Health Savings Account (HSA) program with Fortis. On the ADSL line at work, it wouldn't take long to download the usual 500 or so messages, half of which are spam, to my local machine. Even though the Bayesian spam filter in Mozilla is slowly falling apart, it still picks up about 70% of my spam saving me tons of time sorting through garbage.

I double-clicked to open the first e-mail to start reading. After deleting a few spam and reading some server status reports from our FreeBSD machines at the colo facility, the Mozilla window closed.

Huh? Where was my insurance offer?

Knowing that it could have fallen into the Junk folder as a false positive, I started the arduous task of cleaning out my junk mail. After several thousand messages (it had been a while since the last housekeeping adventure), I still had nothing.

"Well...forget hi-tech, I'll just call," I thought to myself.

The independent agent, Mark, answered the phone quickly and politely. As he told me about the questions they had about a visit to the Doctor earlier this year and how they ordered medical records, all my hopes of finding a health insurance alternative had been crushed.

Apparently, you have to be HEALTHY to qualify for HEALTH INSURANCE. And not just healthy, you better not have been toa Doctor for anything beyond a routine physical EVER.

Does that make any sense?

I'm applying for an HSA policy with a $5,000 deductible. Never, in my life, have I had expenses in excess of $5,000...not even the year I had gall bladder surgery.


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