Janet Urquhart: Yeah, I’m insured, but for what?
November 15, 2002
I’ve recently concluded I’m the victim of a legalized scam being perpetrated under the relatively benign ? in fact, seemingly beneficial ? guise of “insurance.”
Now, before I’m inundated with scathing communiques from the insurance industry over my above use of the “s” word, let me explain: I know nothing ? that’s right, nothing ? about the complexities of the insurance industry and I’ve done little to educate myself. I’ve been too busy fuming about my second hike in auto insurance rates this year and the checks I’ve been writing left and right to cover my medical expenses to do any research on this matter.
It occurs to me that what I have is catastrophic insurance. If something really bad happens to me, I’m covered (well, minus deductibles and co-pays that could leave me bankrupt), but for the routine life of a cautious driver/healthy individual, the benefits are zip.
I’d be better off consuming donuts and booze at breakfast, smoking cigarettes for lunch and driving my car into immovable objects on a regular basis if I really want to feel insured.
Otherwise, I’m just paying premiums for someone else’s inattentive driving and high cholesterol.
My present state of wrath all started when I finally decided to do something about my foot after a summer of plantar fasciitis, which is a fancy name for pain.
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A podiatrist suggested orthotics, which is a fancy name for insoles and a way to turn a $50 pair of shoes into a $300 pair of shoes without the pleasure of showing off your pricey footwear because all the evidence is inside the shoe.
Call it a hunch, but I knew my health insurance was, a) not going to cover the cost of the orthotics; and, b) not going to count against my $500 deductible. Maybe I know more about the insurance industry than I thought, because I was correct on both counts.
I did, however, think my as-yet-untapped $200 annual “wellness benefit” would at least cover the $185 office visit with the foot guy. Wrong.
Apparently, the wellness of my feet is not of importance to the company that takes money out of my paychecks to help cover the cost of insuring my health. Maintenance of my uterus, which I’ve never used, is covered by my wellness benefit, but maintenance of my feet, which I use every day, is not.
Bottom line, between foot trouble and back trouble, I’ve paid $620 toward my health care this year, not a dime of which was covered by my alleged insurance. This put me in something of a foul mood when my auto insurance bill arrived, reflecting what will amount to another $100 a year for exactly the same coverage on the same old car.
Since my car rarely leaves the driveway and I’m accident-free, I find this especially irksome (yes, I already get the discounts for not driving much or running into things).
When I called for an explanation, I was told something about an across-the-board hike that has affected everyone and was advised to blame Colorado’s no-fault insurance law.
No-fault insurance, based on my scant research, means your insurance pays for your own monetary damages. Your ability to sue a negligent driver for less quantifiable damages, like pain and suffering (and their ability to sue you), is somewhat limited. So far, the insurance industry is causing most of my pain and suffering.
I was also told that no-fault insurance results in bogus medical claims from individuals who were not injured in or around their vehicle, but try to hit up their auto insurance to cover medical expenses, helping drive up premiums.
In other words, I need to somehow convince my auto insurer that I managed to run over myself with my car and I can finally collect on the auto premiums I’ve been paying for two decades while my health insurance saves itself for a more worthy medical event.