1. Group all the people on a particular insurance policy into a household, so that when there is a change to the carrier or policy and one member of the household has a prescription filled, everyone else’s policy information is updated accordingly. Instead, each of us has to update our own information individually over time, as we get prescriptions filled. I get my thyroid meds filled every month, so mine got updated right away. My son hadn’t had any prescriptions since September, when my husband’s employer changed carriers. Yesterday, they were still trying to bill our old insurance company for some ear drops.
(Yeah, the tot has an ear infection. It’s been fun.)
2. Copy insurance policy information from one member of the household/policy to another. When we realized that they needed to update my son’s policy, they asked me for my insurance card. I couldn’t find it, and asked if they could just copy the info from my account. They could… by backing out of my son’s prescription/profile/whatever entirely, finding mine, copying my info onto a sheet of paper (!), going back into my son’s account and reentering the data by hand. Halfway through this twenty-minute process, I found the required card in a forgotten pocket of my wallet. (Because, naturally, we don’t have one insurance card. We have three: the one we give to the doctor’s office, another one we give to the pharmacy, and a third one we use only for glasses and contact lenses.)
3. Switch one’s preference from arthritis-friendly caps to childproof caps. Sixteen months after the tot was born, having requested childproof caps on multiple occasions, I’m still getting the easy-open ones.
This is all nowhere near the level of stupidity Jay Lake encountered with his insurance carrier, and even that is nowhere near the horror faced by people with no insurance at all.
I maintain that anyone who thinks the American insurance system is superior in any way to a government-sponsored single-payer system has never had to deal with any health problem more serious than the sniffles — and believes they never will.
And, bringing this back around to the women in tech post, I’d like to point out something that came up again today in New Republic’s article on the implementation of Obamacare: until the rest of the law goes into effect in January, people who are trying to buy personal health coverage (read: freelancers) can be denied for a long and varied list of preexisting conditions… including pregnancy. (Past C-sections, too.) If you were wondering why a lot of women work for companies, or universities, or other people in general rather than going into business for themselves, there’s one big reason.