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BLUE CROSS’S DISGUISES

So much is in a name. Too much is in a name. We can so easily be led astray by trusting a name that has been programmed into us, the older generation,  as trustworthy.

In the spring of 2006 I  had just turned eighty and was already on Medicare, of course, when I found in my mailbox one of the most enticing presentation packages ever compiled. It had come from Blue Cross of California.  Because it had come from Blue Cross of California, second only perhaps to God in trustworthiness, I took it very seriously. I took it home.  I gave it an evening of my time. It  was very impressive.

What I thought it said to me was this:  1) I could always, at any time, go back to my familiar Medicare coverage; 2) this new entity would pay 90% of all my medical bills instead of the 80% that Medicare was paying; 3) I could always choose my own health care provider but might have to pay a bit more if that provider was NOT in the booklet of approved Freedom Blue (the mask) providers; 4) my annual deductible would now be $1,000/yr instead of Medicare’s $100/yr.   It also said that my maximum annual co-pay would be $3,000.

Yep, I grabbed it.

And now I’m about to write them a letter asking to be released from that decision and to accept the offer to return to regular Medicare coverage  (see 1 above) .  The primary reason for this decision is that I can no longer deal with the confusing paperwork. I can honestly say that there has never been a moment since May of 2006 when I had the faintest idea what the hell was happening with my billings.

Last week, six months after I believed that I had paid my $1,000 deductible  for 2009 (and can prove it), I get a bill for a service six-month’s ago to remove a skin cancer for which Anthem Blue Cross paid nothing. Their explanation on the phone was that my $1000 deductible “had not been paid at that time“.

The 2010 “Medicare & You” directory says that Anthem Blue Cross (Freedom Blue’s new mask) was rated “POOR” among members. Recently my Premarin prescription cost  ME $40 of the $68 bill for only thirty pills. In 2008 Freedom
Blue paid $108 of $138 for one hundred pills. What changed? Prices and my health insurer’s profit. 

And now I’m reading that come March 1st, we will all be paying 39%  higher premiums for Anthem Blue Cross coverage because …. ?

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