Insurance insanity

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by leekohler, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #1
    Just when I thought our system could not be more screwed up.

    There was a meeting yesterday at my company with our insurance company outlining the usual increases. This time there was a twist. We have to pay $300 more a year out of our paychecks, unless we go with the "wellness" program. What that means is that the insurance company takes blood samples this year and you get the $300 break. If your blood turns up anything "unusual" the next year, you get charged more, if not you stay at the same rate.

    I can't even believe this is legal. My doctor cautioned me about things like this a long time ago. I sure as hell am not giving anyone my blood to anyone unless they are my doctor. I want to challenge this legally using my lawyer, but I need to hear from some of you who have more experience with this kind of thing.

    This is seriously creepy. Since when is an insurance company your doctor? No way in hell would I give them my blood. Who knows what they could "find"?

    I've tried looking this up on line but can find nothing.
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    Sounds to me like a thinly-veiled attempt to "pre-screen" people for ailments that will cost them more, using the opt-in as a way of making it look voluntary.

    I agree with you completely - if it were me, I'd just pay the extra $25 a month and let 'em wonder.
     
  3. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #3
    That's what I plan on doing. No way in hell are they getting my blood.
     
  4. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #4
    My worry is that this is just the start. How long until when you have blood taken by your doctor for your regular checkup will a copy of the results be sent to insurance companies?
     
  5. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #5
    That doesn't scare me as much as my blood going directly to the insurance company.
     
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #6
    I would say all they are looking at is standard blood test but I would not trust an insurance company as far as I can throw them. Plus those test are only a snap shot. It is easy to completely throw off the results based on what you eat like the 72-96 hours before the test.

    They would take that result as OMG health risk when in reality it just a short term spike and means nothing. A good doctor would see high results and ask you what have you eaten in the past week and then may have multiple blood test done over a few months to get a better picture.

    Now I like something the company I worked for did that would lower the rate of our health insurance. That was you earned points threw out the year for doing healthy things like working out. Drinking enough water, taking (free) online health classes, joining a gym ect. Basic healthy things would lower our rates. None of it invaded your privacy and pre-existing condition were never known about.
     
  7. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I remember my wife and I having to give a blood sample when I applied for life insurance. In that case they're trying to protect themselves from writing a six-figure check to someone who was just told he has terminal cancer.

    But a health care is different IMO. It shouldn't matter if your blood comes back indicating cancer... they should take care of you whether you had it or not. It leads me to believe they are looking for something more than that.

    Single-payer. That is the only health insurance plan that makes any sense.
     
  8. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #8
    That would all be fine, but this crap is crazy.
     
  9. 184550 Guest

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    #9
    Sort of reminds me of the plot of Michael Crichtons 'Next'.

    Scary stuff.
     
  10. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    No kidding- also kind of like 1984. "Wellness Program". Yeah, right.
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #11
    A simple blood test might be acceptable. Did they list what they were looking for? Did they say if they were also going to do a DNA analysis? Would they keep the blood sample for future reference?

    Way too scary.
     
  12. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #12
    Odd you bring this up. A friend my company is leaving soon (not because of this though) just did the exact same thing. He both said it was insane to give them your blood.
     
  13. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #13
    I personally have no problem with this. People are getting a discount for being healthy just like a good driver gets a discount for being accident or ticket free. Only way to prove this is to have some sort of exam, right? If people think this is an invasion of their privacy they can opt out. What's the big deal?
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Tomorrow, simple economics is the reason for the three-year deal for pre-existing conditions. That generally kept health insurance premiums at a reasonable level.

    But the blood test? Simple enough. A doc gets the sample, a lab does the workup and there is a copy each for the insurance company and for you, yourself. Standard procedure. Oughta do that every three years or so, anyway, just on general principles. After my cancer deal, it was every six months for five years...

    "Single-payer. That is the only health insurance plan that makes any sense."

    citizenzen, there's not enough money to do that. What with SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Free Pills and all the other goodies, we're already broke. The joys of "to each, according to his need" are less joyful by the day...
     
  15. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Not necessarily.

    My health insurance company handles "wellness" in quite a different way. With them, you can sign up online and either read articles on health issues or record and track specific health related issues such as daily caloric intake. And if you take part in this wellness program, they pay you $50 every three months.

    It sounds like Lee's company is just using "wellness" as a smoke screen for gathering data, and isn't promoting and educating it's users on healthier long-term habits.
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    Well, it seems to work almost everywhere else in the world of note.
     
  17. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #17
    There's plenty of money. It's simply matter of priority.

    What do we value as a society?
     
  18. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

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    #18
    LOL, well I don't think they're going to send a bespectacled actuary to your office to draw blood from you! :D No doubt they'll use a third-party clinic to draw the samples, run a standard blood workup and report the results to the insurance company. Privacy rules (e.g., HIPPA) should protect you to a point, but you'll need to check the fine print on any releases you sign to be sure they won't be sharing the details with your employer or anyone else. In fact, you and your fellow employees should band together to demand full disclosure of exactly which tests will be run, how the data will be handled to ensure privacy, and what the consequences will be of, say, positive results for high cholesterol, STDs, HIV, anemia, etc.

    This is a worrying trend, though. The driver is quite clearly skyrocketing insurance premiums, which is making employers desperate to find ways to contain costs. The "wellness" approach sounds quite reasonable at first--let's make sure employees with risk factors are getting the appropriate preventative treatment, and let's address lifestyle issues like poor diet, smoking, inadequate exercise, etc. that lead to poor health and higher costs. The problem though is that it can quickly become overly invasive and coercive. This article is a few years old, but is nevertheless worth a read to see what a fairly aggressive wellness approach can look like.

    Unless there is legislative intervention, I think the trend will continue and possibly intensify. Pressure will mount on individuals with unhealthy habits and/or physical conditions that are beyond their control but that put them at risk. This might be a good thing for the whole of society, but I think it will put some unfortunate individuals in very unpleasant situations.
     
  19. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #19
    I don't really agree with u on this. My company does the same, pays u fifty bucks for joining a gym or going to a class about healthy eating. However, if they want to give a sizable discount to healthy people, they have no choice but to do some sort of exam. All the classes in the world won't prove if u are actually healthy. it would be like getting a discount for being a gym member and then complaining because the insurance company checked up on if u were actually going on a regular basis. if I want that discount, dont cry invasion of privacy because they want the gym to sent ur attentence record.
     
  20. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #20
    I'd much rather have a single payer healthcare system for all, a world class system than a military.
     
  21. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #21
    "There's plenty of money. It's simply matter of priority."

    No, there's not plenty of money. We're right at $14 trillion in the hole, cash-wise. We have future liabilities of well above $70 trillion which we cannot pay. We're already adding to the $14 trillion at a rate of $1.6 trillion this year and at the very least, another trillion a year for the next eight or ten years. Just how broke do you want us to get?

    "What do we value as a society?"

    How about survival as a viable nation?
     
  22. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #22
    How about "You forgive our debt, or we nuke yer ass."?? :rolleyes:
     
  23. leekohler thread starter macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #23
    Guess what? Taxes will go up. Oh, heaven's to Betsy! :eek: :rolleyes:

    I'd much rather pay more taxes and not have to worry about going bankrupt every time I get an illness. It's ridiculous, rat- and I have insurance! My medical issues (no fault of bad habits, all hereditary) have eaten up all my reserves this year. They've reduced my excess cash to near zero. That's a load of crap, man. We're seriously doing a lot wrong here.
     
  24. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #24
    I have to say if they gave a discount for doing a blood test every year and regardless of the results you got that discount. Throw it in with some other required test and healthy activities then I would have a non-issue with it.

    That would be the correct way to go about it. Reason is that way they are getting the people they insure information on if they have a problem and hopefully get treatment for it while it is still cheaper.

    But in the case of lee company it is not that. If you have a problem they raise your rates.

    Other things that can get discounts being a non smoker worth like 6 points, planning on reducing and making it a goal to quite smoking 2 points. X number of points required for discount. Blood test required for discount but the results of the blood test have zero effect on your rates. Just required that you have one.

    Yeah I have to say some of the stuff they do that on is insane.
    I am spending a $100 a month on medication for my Anxiety/Depression and insurance has classified it as a teir 3 drug. Basically they are not covering it. There really are no alternatives approved to treat both Anxiety and depression. All the others out there only treat one or the other but not both.

    Now the Pharmaceutical are just as guilty at driving those prices up and Lexapro is an example of evergreening. It should be generic by now but not going to happen for a few more years and Forest Pharmaceutical is screwed when it happens as 60% of their money comes off that one drug. They push it on doctors but still I have to eat a $100 for a drug because nothing else is approved to treat both at the same time.
     
  25. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #25
    This sounds a lot like something Progressive offers for car insurance. You get a little device that plugs into your car's OBD-II port. Initially, you get a discount. But it monitors your driving habits and reports back to Progressive, and based on that, they can decrease the discount, remove it, or raise your rates up to where they were before you signed up for this program, which at that point, you might as well end participating in the program but now they have your history and will keep your rates higher than they were before you started this thing.

    So yeah, at first, it sounds fine. But what happens if you have one bad blood test later on? Say you have a test done a couple days after you get back from vacation, and thanks to eating out a lot and enjoying some good food on your vacation, you have elevated cholesterol. You're normally a healthy eater and your levels have always been in the normal range, it's just a poorly timed doctors appointment after a week where you were off your routine. How high are they going to raise your rates? And for how long? Will this permanently brand you as unhealthy with high rates even if you choose to opt out of this wellness program?
     

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