Obamacare Update

My enrollment confirmation and temporary ID card has arrived from United Healthcare. That leaves the loose end that Blue Cross will automatically renew my policy for 2016 if I don’t tell them to not renew me.

So this morning at 10 AM, I called BCBS Customer support and the computer/phone maze urged me to have a call back – if I stayed on the line, I could expect at least a 25 minute! wait due to heavy call demand. I stayed on the line. My call was answered in less than a minute.

After explaining the situation, I was informed because I pay by bank draft, she could not do anything until the payment for December has cleared. I stated that was unreasonable and that I would be calling the State Insurance Commission if she could not come up with a better answer. She called my bluff.

I called the State Insurance Commission in Raleigh, and my phone call was immediately answered. The guy who answered did some uh-huh’ing, but otherwise basically showed no interest in getting involved. None of that was unexpected.

So I’ll wait until Friday and call back and enter round 2 of the fight to disconnect from Blue Cross.

Delta Dental sent their paperwork to arrange drafting my bank account. The “pay online” link from healthcare.gov returns an “unknown error”. Their process seems to be to fill out a form by putting numbers in boxes and putting it inside an envelope (none was provided) and send it via postal mail in order to be keypunched by a data entry clerk. What year is this?

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12 Responses to Obamacare Update

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Blue Cross assured me today my policy is cancelled. Hopefully they are telling the truth.

  2. onansolo says:

    Seems as if United is considering leaving Obamacare and presumably NC in 2017…was considering shopping there other than BlueCross, which is increasing my monthly 95% for 2016 over 2015 rate for a similar policy BUT without including the Duke Hospital system as a provider…and with no sicknesses or usage this year…where is that $2500 less per year that Barry told me ’bout…and for the third year running the guvment website will NOT let me log in… sheesh…

    • Fred Stiening says:

      I had filled out the Obamacare application for 2014, but refused to claim a subsidy and just bought direct from BCBS of NC. Blue Cross is a bit confusing – they agreed to be the national provider the last day before HHS would have had to throw in the towel for not having two national providers – Coventry (now Aetna) jumped in after the deadline. One truism about Obamacare is they sure have no qualms about waiving the rules.

      Blue Cross is a national choice for Federal government employees which was probably the threat made at them to get them to comply. Anthem is the umbrella company where there is no state BC/BS. In a few places (Pennsylvania for sure), there are multiple competing Blue Crosses. So how Obama soothed BC/BS was to guarantee to cover their underwriting losses. The losses are much worse than their worst estimate because delaying the employer mandate, changing the definition of “small business” and general realignment of how business insures its employees dried up the risk pool. The brains of Obamacare wanted individual and small business sharing a single risk pool.

      It’s painfully obvious blue cross wants out of writing individual policies. They announced several months ago they would not even offer the Blue Select plan – just the Blue Value plan, which is basically Medicaid’s Doctor list.

      Novant’s web site says that if your income is below the poverty level, they’ll just write off your entire hospital bill , even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid. I don’t plan to find out if that’s true.

      United Health Care made their statement the day after I signed up. The early worm gets the hook.

      The wild card in this is Kaiser Permanente. They are waiting in the wings to become the national HMO and put insurance out of the health care business entirely. They or Medicare for all are the two most likely emergency measures. The number of people like us – getting an ACA individual policy but not on Medicaid appears to only be around a million people nationwide. Most of those are likely people with very expensive chronic conditions.

      • haiti222 says:

        There have been press reports in the business and healthcare press that Kaiser has been looking at buying the Henry Ford Healthcare system to enter the Detroit market. They are buying some Bernie Sanders-like coop in Seattle that the have been friendly with for years (if the 18% of the members who were registered to vote before the deal was announced approve it). Nobody else is going to be allowed to vote on it…….

        • Fred Stiening says:

          If you permit me to wander into the topic, and feel free to tell me I’m wrong. Kaiser was a big government contractor doing work mostly for the Navy and around the East Coast shipyards. Rather than providing insurance, he built a health care network for his employees where he owned the facilities and employed the doctors. Roughly speaking, this is the HMO model.

          After the war was over (WW2), Kaiser went into the car making business as the military work slowed down. Kaiser still is primarily in California and the Chesapeake Bay Area.

          There are no insurance forms. They provide health care, not health insurance. If Obamacare falls apart, Kaiser lacks the ability to expand nationwide quickly, but I like their concept better than the horribly wasteful insurance model.

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            There are too many parties involved in almost every transaction. Sick and need some antibiotics?

            In Mexico, go your local pharmacist, speak with him and pay $5 for your pills.

            In the US, you tell your employer what plan you want, your employer pays the “insurance company” that really just processes claims. The “insurance” company has a network of doctors under contract with negotiated rates, and the same contracts with pharmacies either directly of through pharmacy benefit management companies. The doctor does not know what to charge you without the insurance company telling him…. same with the pharmacy. The DEA needs the doctor and pharmacy to report your prescription, and shares the information with the drug companies. The drug companies give “rebates” to the pharmacy benefit manager and reward the doctors with expense paid seminars in Florida in the winter where attendance is optional and not recorded. With all these hands in your pocket, expect to pay $50 to the doctor and $20 to the pharmacy after you had money deducted from you paycheck each month and your employer paid a similar amount to the insurance company.

            Walk into Mexico from any US border crossing and the first block or two of building you will see say “Farmacias” everywhere.

            Here is Reynosa, Tamaulipas (Mexico) at the foot of the bridge from McAllen, Texas: https://www.google.com/maps/@26.0928233,-98.2722322,3a,75y,211.53h,81.19t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sYOkN-35BO6AkQ1E8o1j8Lg!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo3.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DYOkN-35BO6AkQ1E8o1j8Lg%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D196.95662%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656

          • haiti222 says:

            Yes, that is correct. Kaiser is the least bad alternative to the problems we have in the system. Exchange plans have awful deductibles and there is opaque disclosure of costs and what is covered. The networks are also getting narrower and narrower. I say this as the moderate-conservative in the family that had to convince someone that expanded Medicaid was much preferable on a personal level than faking a higher income to get an ACA plan, even with a subsidy.

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    United Healthcare is OK so far getting things set up. I had them back in Connecticut and no bad memories

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