Navigating Healthcare Without Political Rhetoric

There’s been a lot of political talk about the affordable care act (ACA), or as some like to call it, Obamacare. Whatever name you choose to call it quite often determines what political perspective you tend to associate with the plan. An example: If I call it Obamacare, chances are pretty good that I’m a conservative who hates it. If I call it the ACA, chances are pretty good that I’m more liberal, and I support it. Sure, there are outliers in both areas, but for the most part, that’s sort of framed the issue for everyone.

So, imagine my surprise when I read an article from Fox News, indicating how much trouble a woman got into with her cancer because of the horrible policies involved with “Obamacare.” Obviously, I’m being a bit facetious, as the fact that it came from Fox News should have been an indication it was going to be negative from the start. Now, I’m just waiting for the Salon article debunking the original article, including the part where we find out that the woman actually has better coverage now because of Obamacare than was previously reported in the article. If not, we won’t hear from Salon at all. Or from Jon Stewart either (another of the liberal debunkers). I can already tell you who will report the story based on what conclusions they come up with. That’s about as bad as media gets, and nothing I say is ever going to change that.

So, I thought I was address an anecdotal case and talk about health care, specifically MY health care. After I left my job, I found myself realizing that I had to get my own medical coverage. I was originally under Priority Health (which is co-owned by the employer I left). Historically, I’ve always known it to be overpriced and quite often geared more towards the business owner than the people put onto the plan. When Cobra information was sent to me, I wasn’t all that astonished that it was astronomically priced. So I went looking on the education marketplace to find my own insurance.

What I discovered was that Blue Cross/Blue Shield seemed a lot cheaper with better coverage. Figuring my health concerns would require the highest tier of service, I figured I’d be paying an arm and a leg (to keep my arms and legs), so I called up Blue Cross and decided to negotiate my way through it. The first person I spoke to was somewhat of a drip (and a drag). He wasn’t helpful at all, basically sounding like he was reading information off of some sheet and really not into assisting me. I hung up and figured I’d be screwed in the very near future because I probably wouldn’t have any coverage.

Later, I called back and I got a very nice woman who really seemed to know what she was talking about. She convinced me that the highest tier wasn’t beneficial to me, as one of the lower tiers, combined with the government incentives available to those in my wage bracket (for the easily fooled, attractive women reading this, that would mean “extremely wealthy and billionare-like”; for everyone else, it translates to “dirt poor and barely able to afford to feed his own stuffed animals”), would definitely be the route for me to take. With my deductible lowered big time because of the government incentive, it would make my savings over time even greater.

Into the first month of this coverage, I discovered one of the low points of this plan is prescription coverage (which with any non-generic drug forces me to pay full price, which also means far more money than anyone aside from Donald Trump might be able to afford). Feeling I’d probably end up either destitute, or dead soon because I can’t afford my medication, I saw my doctor, explained the dilemma, and she informed me that the pharmacy attached to the medical service where I see her actually has a contingency plan to deal with such circumstances. So, while it wasn’t free, I was able to get the drugs I needed that were overpriced through my regular plan.

The point is that sometimes you have to go through a little extra work to figure out the best solutions, and that not always is just “signing up for Obamacare” going to get you the results you need. Sometimes, you have to keep your eyes open and your ears listening to make sure that you’re able to find the deals that make your situation better.

Now, something else might come around the corner and make things difficult again, but so far, I’m seeing numerous lights at the ends of multiple tunnels, so as long as you keep moving forward, your chances of success are that much better.

It’s partly why I hate following politics any longer. I’m a political scientist, and I’ll admit that I hate politics so much. It’s rarely positive; it’s always about how someone else did something bad, and how bad everything is because the other guys are in office, in control, or behind the curtains. One of the things I teach on day one of every class’s semester is my perspective on how I teach the class, where I explain that we’re not going to be studying politics but something much simpler: Why do people do the things they do? I’ve been convinced that it explains politics far better than most of the theories I’ve studied over the years. People do things for reasons. Politics cloud those reasons, and once those clouds dissipate, things become a lot clearer.

duaneNavigating Healthcare Without Political Rhetoric

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