Great writers pull story material from real life, right? I figure every once in a while I'll give you something to think about, something to remind you that our stories aren't as far off reality as we think.
Today—I'm talking about my insurance, baby.
No, I swear it'll be entertaining, because I have the MOST EVIL INSURANCE IN THE WORLD. I kid you not. Let's start with the basics.
To get decent coverage, they require you and your spouse to pass SIX tests. If you do not pass these tests, you are fined an amount of the premium (about 40 bucks per fail, which on our income is like half our groceries for a week).
The SIX Tests:
Weight: You must be under 29% body fat or lose 3lbs a month. (At 138lbs, I am still considered too fat, as I am an EPIC 32% body fat.)
Exercise: You must either 1) strap a pedometer (aka leash) to yourself every single day and get 10k steps (which is about 5 miles), 2) Exercise at home at least 12 times a month and keep a detailed log of how long and what you did, or 3) Join a gym and exercise 12+ times a month and make them print out proof that you went.
Cholesterol: You must be under a certain number or "show improvement" after each test.
Glucose: You must be under a certain number or "show improvement" after each test.
Blood Pressure: You must be under a certain number or "show improvement."
Vitamin D (newly added! because we weren't doing enough before!): You must have more than a certain amount or "show improvement."
Seriously. I am NOT making this up. Every month I get to drive to my husband's place of work, stand on a scale, and be told how much I weigh and how fatty my body is. Then they strap the blood pressure thing on, all the while smiling like they are doing me a favor...
Every quarter, we get the blood tests for cholesterol, glucose, and vitamin D. It's recommended that we fast...and I'm hypoglycemic, which makes that SUPER fun. And if we can't get an early appointment? Yeah, I have to eat, and then when they weigh me that day I'm FATTER because that's just what happens over the course of a day!
Sorry, the rage was coming on. The number one thing people say to me when I tell them about our Evil Dictator Insurance is: "That's legal?"
To which I begrudgingly have to say yes. Why? Oh, this is where it gets really evil, guys. Be prepared. The reason it's legal is because this "Health Incentivised Plan" is technically optional. Except it's not really optional, because the "default" company insurance is a piece of crap. If we were not on this plan, our family deductible would be $3000 dollars a year. That means the insurance company would pay nothing until we racked up 3k in medical bills...and after that they would graciously pay 80/20.
We're a healthy family. We rarely get sick. But I do have two young children who need shots and at least yearly health exams. I do have to go to the dermatologist yearly, because I have a large birthmark that needs to be watched closely. I do have to buy contacts. And visit the dentist. We can't afford to pay for all that out of pocket, even if it doesn't add up to 3k. We're, well, kind of poor.
So we have to do the "Health Incentivised Plan" to actually get insurance. And guess what? Even that coverage is not that great. You'd think we'd get the freaking moon for all that, but nope, we just get normal insurance a lot of people don't have to work for. Thirty-dollar co-pays on regular visits. One fifty on emergency room. 80/20. 5k deduct on maternity. Nothing full coverage, and let's not forget the fines if we fail...
Here I am, being appraised and poked and tested like an animal just so I can earn the right to affordable doctor visits. Every time I go in there, I feel like a big part of my privacy has been invaded. I feel like this company has put a security camera in my home, my fridge, hell, in my body. I feel trapped and angry, because they've cleverly made it so I can't fight back and cry foul. All they'll say to that is, "Well, you don't have to do the program. Just pay the 3k deductible."
Which I can't afford. Which is basically like having no insurance at all.
To the people who say America doesn't need health care reform, I say wear my damn pedometer for a month, stand on a scale to be told you are fat (when I AM NOT), have your blood taken just so a company that's supposed to help you can find a reason to fine you instead. Then tell me how you feel.
I am not saying I am for a government health plan—I'm just saying there IS a problem. I'm tired of this company running my life. For me? So far the choice has been between one dictator or another. And that, for this country, is just plain sad.
Also, if that's not dystopian book fodder, I don't know what is. Go forth. Write.