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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