By Paul Downs, January 6, 2014
After writing eight posts on my search for health insurance, which generated more than 275 comment from readers, I was more than ready to move on. After all, I do have a day job — running my little factory — and I have other projects and problems to address. But my mind keeps returning to a scene I witnessed the week before Christmas.
I came into my office a little late one morning and found my bookkeeper sitting in front of her computer, tears streaming down her face. This stopped me cold — I had never, in 27 years as a boss, seen one of my employees weeping. Alarmed, I asked her what had happened, and she told me: “I need to make a decision about which insurance plan to choose, and I can’t figure out how much a doctor’s visit will cost — and that’s what I need to know. I’ve been on the phone all morning with Independence Blue Cross, trying to get an answer. I’ve been on hold, I’ve talked to people, I called my doctor, and I can’t get anyone to give me a number. I am so frustrated I just want to — I can’t say it.”
My bookkeeper, as I mentioned in my last post, elected to leave our company group and buy insurance through the individual exchange. She works two days a week, and so had missed my presentation on how Affordable Care Act-compliant policies work, and she hadn’t read my account of how I had failed in my own quest to find out what I could expect to pay out-of-pocket if I signed up for a silver or bronze policy. A numbers-oriented person, she had set up a spreadsheet to evaluate whether a silver or bronze policy was a better choice for her, and she had hit the same wall I had hit — not enough information to make a good decision.
And that brings me to the point of this post. I have taken a very long journey, starting with the first call from my agent and ending with my final decision as to what insurance to buy for 2014. Over those weeks, I spent a huge amount of time digging through the information given to me and trying to identify the best course of action for my company and my people.