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Pet Insurance for People..Marriage for Healthcare..How Far Would You Go?

Pet Insurance for People..Marriage for Healthcare..How Far Would You Go?

Having trouble getting health insurance? Maybe you can get on your pet’s insurance plan.

Probably not, but that didn’t stop Hal Ziegler from making the call anyway. The Orange County Register reported that the self-employed consultant did so after receiving the infamous rate increase letter from Anthem Blue Cross.

At first blush, it’s an amusing story… a guy trying to get pet insurance for himself… that is until you stop to consider the reality. The Register quotes Ziegler as saying, “They laughed. I knew what the answer would be but in reality I wasn’t joking.”

Both he and his wife carry individual policies, hers going up 28 percent last year and his rising 34 percent. A cheaper high-deductible plan was denied due to a recent ankle injury.

The individual insurance market is a cruel place, something many folks in group plans do not understand. Once you’ve landed in the individual market, many of the legal protections that come with group insurance no longer apply.

If you’ve got any type of pre-existing condition — it could be as simple as an ankle injury — you are without choices. In most states, insurers are free to deny coverage all together, and that includes other policies with the same insurer. There is no freedom of choice, no comparison shopping to be done. You already have the policy of last resort. Pay up or get out.

Terri Carlson finds herself in a similar situation. With no employer-based insurance and a COBRA benefits period about to end, she sought coverage in the individual market, but her pre-existing condition resulted in denials across the board.

Her attempt at a solution was to advertise for a husband with health insurance benefits. It’s a fairly drastic response, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

As for Anthem Blue Cross, according to The Washington Post, it’s defense for raising Californians’ premiums up to 39 percent, is “Costs have increased in the individual market because the recession has led many policyholders to drop their coverage, spreading expenses among a smaller pool of customers. Additionally, those remaining with the company tend to have, on average, greater health needs than those who have dropped coverage. We regret the impact this has had on our members.”

So as prices escalate, more policyholders are forced out, causing prices to increase further for those remaining. It is a system destined to fail, with a human toll.

When Ms. Carlson decided to advertise for a husband and when Mr. Ziegler inquired about pet insurance for himself, whether completely serious or not, they were successful in shining a light on the failings of a system of health care that leaves people out in the cold.

Pet insurance for people… marriage for health care… how far would you go to gain access to health care? The more important question being why should you be forced to make such a decision?

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Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/911229


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63 comments

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4:03AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

thanks for posting

11:52AM PDT on May 16, 2010

WHY ON EARTH IS IT ALWAYS HARD TO GET SOMETHING AND IT ALWAYS COST MONEY. CHILDREN'S AND ANIMAL'S HEALTH SHOULD BE CHEAPER AND SHOULD BE A LOT BETTER ORGANISED. I WISH WE COULD GET INSURANCE SO EASILY FOR EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING.

8:32AM PST on Mar 9, 2010

THANKS FOR POSTING

12:48PM PST on Mar 7, 2010

That's crazy to get on pet insurance like it's gonna solve the problem of lack of health benefits.

4:18PM PST on Mar 5, 2010

rita b thats why I eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke or do drugs and exercise and practice yoga. Sadly, the stress of what could happen with no insurance will kill me.

I'd like to go to Canada. But promise I won't sneak in illegally!

4:14PM PST on Mar 5, 2010

I've got a kidney for sale.

9:16PM PST on Mar 4, 2010

The health insurance industry should be put out of business. They are nothing but parasites. We need a single payer system. At the very least the Government needs to cap premiums.
However, there is plenty of blame to go around. The medical profession does its part to keep medical costs high. They should be paid by salary and not by procedure. They should quit persecuting midwives, and holistic practicioners and work with them.
The public too has its share of the blame. Too many people want to eat junk food, smoke and not exercise and then want some doctor to cure all their ills with a pill. Of course Big Pharma is more than happy to oblige.
Once again Big Pharma and the FDA are plotting to take away our supplements and herbal remedies.
Then there is Congress, the great majority who are firmly in the pockets of the Medical Insurance Corporations, the AMA and Big Pharma. Which is why there will be no meaningful healthcare bill passed.

9:17AM PST on Mar 4, 2010

Is it not absolutely disgusting that in these "enlightened" days people should be forced to such devices in an attempt to receive affordable health care. You are the prey of voracious insurance vultures. A better argument for a compulsory national insurance system is hard to imagine. Rid yourselves of the devious politicians who obstruct progress.

12:34PM PST on Mar 3, 2010

stess = stress

12:33PM PST on Mar 3, 2010

Thanks for the interesting article.

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