Friday, September 24, 2004

Episode 4 -- Private Health Insurance...NASE

We've finally taken the time to revisit health insurance coverage in an attempt to get away from my wife's group health insurance slavery. At this point, we're rolling the dice to see if someone will cover my wife and help us avoid using the coverage of the High Risk Pool which is mediocre at best. In our quest for decent private insurance, we stumbled onto the NASE.

The National Association for the Self-Employed provides an interesting health benefit to its members. They have negotiated a "group-like" health insurance plan with MEGA Life and Health Insurance out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The only difference between a real group plan and the NASE plan is that you still have to go through underwriting for the NASE plan. Needless to say, that puts my family in an interesting predicament with my wife's medical conditions.

We found out our first bit of negative news this morning...MEGA will not cover anyone taking Coumadin. Coumadin is the "blood thinner" taken by my wife as a result of her Deep Vein Thrombosis episode 11 years ago. Doctors use Coumadin in these instances as a preventive, not as a treatment for a problem. In 11 years, my wife has had no further problems with clotting. Indeed, one could debate the necessity of taking daily Coumadin in her situation.

Here's what I'd like to know, though. Would MEGA have considered writing a policy for her if she had discontinued taking Coumadin prior to the application?

What's my point? insurance companies encourage wreckless practices through their underwriting procedures. Have a pain? Ignore don't want that Doctor's visit on your record. Need medication? Don't take might be denied coverage because of it.

President Bush needs to wake up to the fact that as long as there are health insurance underwriters, the private health insurance industry will not work. I know he likes the idea of non-profit organizations pooling members to buy health insurance, but it just isn't the same as a group policy.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Landing idealogically at the borderline between Libertarian and Republican and usually leaning to the Libertarian side, I'm often the guy that defends the rights of smokers and tobacco companies. I was quite surprised several years ago when the lawsuits against tobacco companies started heating up. At the time, I worked next door to an ISP with a web designer with a real addiction. In discussing the issue with him, I put forth my "Libertarian-esque" opinion, and he countered by saying he wished the government would make smoking illegal. Unbelievable...

Regardless of my ideology, I detest smoking and half wish the government would oblige my old friend. The smokers at the paycheck cashing facility downstairs make me run the gauntlet, breath held, to get to the door 2-3 times daily. On one occasion, I had to do so with my 1 year old child who couldn't be told to hold his breath. At the hospital, they greet us with clouds billowing out around the "Smoke Free Environment" signs. What kind of people behave this way?

And then was the nicest day of the year without question. I drove to Sonic for lunch, rolled down the windows, and relaxed for a little bit. Until, of course, a smoker parked upwind from me causing that altered sense of taste for food reminiscent of my early years when there was no smoking section in restaurants.

Is it possible to go so far right in the political spectrum that you come back around the left side? Anti-smoking laws are just sounding way too appealing to me these days...