Generally speaking, WTF? I've managed to find a couple road blocks over the past week, and I'm beginning to wonder if this is just bad luck or if I'm having trouble adjusting to the new world order.
I buy my health insurance from United Health Care (UHC) via my last headhunter, MoneyGrubbers, Inc. (MGI). I noted that my last health insurance premium to MGI failed to clear the bank in a timely manner, so I call UHC and after navigating their automated telephone response system I finally talk to some obstructive little son of a bitch who calls himself Gary. After a suitably tedious conversation I discover that UHC has quietly canceled my insurance on December 25, 2011 and did so retroactive to October 31, 2011. Gary happily informs me that UHC did this and their actions are compliant with Federal law.
So your health insurance company can just quietly cancel your insurance and not tell you anything? This is too good not to be illegal. I mean, think about it. You think you're insured, you keep sending in your premiums, the checks keep getting cashed, but if you landed in the ER for some reason you'd get shipped off to the charity ward. And let me tell you something, the charity ward isn't pretty. I'd take my chances with my local veterinarian first.
So I called MoneyGrubbers, Inc. and asked the nice girl who answered the phone "What gives?" She didn't know, and this being rather late in December she wouldn't know until next Tuesday, the first business day of 2012. Meanwhile, try not to shoot yourself in the foot and don't play in the highway. When Tuesday rolled around it turned out that I was still covered, and that I was one of fifty that had been quietly canceled without notice, and that all this was due to a mysterious email that UHC received on a Sunday afternoon. That's right, Sunday. Go figure. I asked if this unfortunate condition was due to a disgruntled ex-employee, and MoneyGrubbers, Inc. remained silent.
I have more problems with UHC, as my current health insurance card has the wrong number on it. That means that when I'm involved in a head on collision with some drunken soccer mom in an SUV and knocked unconscious, the ambulance workers will thumb through my wallet, run the insurance card and then dump my non-profit body at the bus station. Why? No insurance, and it isn't likely this one is independently wealthy. Now I've got to get a new card.
I may write my elected officials about this, and then again I may not. It won't do any good and postage stamps are expensive these days. My real point here is that if our government was trying to help the law abiding individual, this kind of behavior would be punishable by incarceration or a public flogging, or both.
I like reading Bill Dietrich's web site. The man retired early, bought a sailboat (Magnolia) and is slowly making his way around the world. I note from reading his site that he suffered a nasty bout of kidney stones while in some foreign port and had to go to the hospital ER. Total cost: $250 (two hundred and fifty US dollars). That's right, just two and a half yards and he walked out a new man. In my own hometown I don't even want to know what the same treatment would cost.
Anyway, Bill got kicked off his host site without warning. Try to find Magnolia's log on line and you'll get redirected to some sleazy site hawking site names and bad security. No forwarding address is provided. Bill's old address was billdietrich.byethost8.com/Magnolia/MagnoliaLog.html which redirects you to http://securesignupoffers.net/index.php?host=billdietrich.byethost8.com, with no sign of Bill or his boat. byethost8 has an address in granola land, surprising no one. I found that I'd saved Bill's email address someway or another, and he emailed me his new site:
If you'd like to read about real life aboard a sailboat, try reading Bill for a year or two and see if it appeals to you. It kind of does to me, but I'm not likely to ever get there from here. For one thing, Main Lady hates the water.