I had a blast Saturday on WFTL. Unfortunately, a one-hour show goes by so quickly, so I tried to cram a lot into such a short time. I’m waiting to get a recording of the show, and will share highlights with you here, hopefully tomorrow.
I’m late with today’s edition of Radio or Not because I’ve had an extremely frustrating day! I know I’m not alone in my hatred of the so-called system of health care in this country.
The really sad thing is that I’m not even sick! I’m pretty healthy, and I’m having major health insurance issues. I can only imagine what someone in my boat who has actual health issues is feeling, and I know there are lots of them out there.
You can see and hear the roots of this frustration described just last week, in a post/podcast entitled “Bitten by Cobra.” This time I think the venom got me.
When you lose your job and the health insurance benefits that come with it, you’re eligible to continue buying the plan that was, in most cases, partially paid for by your employer. Once terminated, your policy is “administered” as COBRA by a company called SHPS. You pay the premium plus an additional fee for the administration costs.
Great. Another level of costly, sluggish, ineffective bureaucracy to make sure the health care is kept from you while making sure you’re charged a lot of money for the privilege of paying it!
In a nutshell, since I’m no longer working for the Clear Channel station that used to keep me inundated with info about the benefits I received and what I needed to do to keep receiving them, no one was performing that duty. Not even the afore-mentioned company that administer these insurance plans through COBRA.
So, when I paid my January premium, it was short the just under $20 a year the premium had increased. Do they send me a bill for the difference or, God forbid, call or email to let me know there was a discrepancy? No! They terminate my coverage. Seriously. I sent my payment of $304 (not too bad for me, huh? But with my healthy 9 year old daughter on the policy, it increased to an obscene $760 a month…. but I digress).
In February, after my Feb premium of $304 went in (I got Alison private insurance through another company, but that’s a frustrating story for another day), I got a letter telling me I had been terminated for non-payment. Well, after way too long on the phone, I found out that my premium had risen to $322.45 a month, so I was $18.44 short. So they CANCELLED me for non-payment.
But oh, it gets better. I straightened it out… paid the $36.88 to bring me up to date for Jan and Feb, and was told all was well with the (considerably crooked) world of health insurance. And then my $304 refund check showed up in the mail!
Of course, when I called, they told me that I’m now not covered again because they sent me my money back! Seriously!
But enough of that… for now.
There’s a unique and just -different-enough event going on tomorrow in New York to pique my interest. It’s the Rock-It Science Festival, a melding of music and science… featuring Rufus Wainwright, Lenny Kaye, Steve Wynn, Peter Holsapple and others on the music side, and a bunch of scientists who are also musicians. The whole thing was the brain-child, so to speak, of Dr. Joseph LeDoux, who is (for lack of the true term) a brain scientist, and the event benefits the Sensation and Emotion Network.
I connected with Lenny Kaye (longtime Patti Smith guitarist and producer) and Dr. Joe LeDoux, and actually got to introduce them to each other as well. It was an interesting conversation with them, about the mysteries of the brain and the effect music has on it… sort of.