Other Voices: Back to the future for health insurance
I’m a 61-year old female who grew up in Connecticut, lived in Manhattan, New York, for 10 years, relocated to Los Angeles for 25 years, and then settled in Northern California six years ago.
I have been very fortunate to have been covered by health insurance for most of those years. As I look back, I am appalled at how things have changed. When I was covered under my family’s policy, if I was sick the company paid 80 percent. When I was first employed, my employer paid for the coverage, and my husband and myself were covered 100 percent.
Later in life, when I moved and had a new employer, I was covered under an HMO for which I paid my employer. I was allowed 10 minutes to see a doctor, who was only allowed to hear one health complaint per 10 minute appointment. After six months, my blood pressure was still astronomical, and I had suffered several debilitating side effects from the medications prescribed.
Ultimately, I went to a private doctor whom I paid myself to get a prescription that controlled my runaway blood pressure with no side effects. I was fortunate: I could afford to pay for that private doctor!
I now pay nearly $900 per month for my health insurance, because I had heart failure under my present policy some years ago (at $250 per month at the time). I am once again in a system where I see my doctor for 10 minutes, and can only discuss one problem per appointment.
I do not understand why people are saying that health care regulations are a terrible idea for the future. In the past, the industry regulated itself. Many companies were ethical businesses, who promised service for a price, and delivered it. No lies, no bait-and-switch, no canceling the policy if the insured got sick, no insurance company controlling the doctors. People signed on with the ethical companies, and did not use a company that cheated them again. Doctors could accept insurance payments from a company they respected, and refuse to do business with unethical insurance companies.
What in the world is wrong with that?
Why would we want not to have ethical health coverage? We used to have it. Let’s bring it back!
Carole Brown lives in Colfax.
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