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I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Friday, July 13, 2012

By Meghann Ackerman

If you spend much time on the internet, you’ve probably seen some version of the “I have no idea what I’m doing” meme, which usually pictures an animal in some type of human situation. When it came time to pick a new health insurance provider this summer I found myself feeling like a cat with a chemistry set or a dog behind the wheel.

As a single lady, my health insurance decision making had been very simple:

  1. Can I afford health insurance? If not, skip question 2 and start looking up free clinics.
  2. Will the copays for the few times I do visit a doctor be reasonable?

I was lucky and had vanilla health care needs that are covered by all but the most absurd of plans. Victor and his lovely but defective heart complicated things.

On the surface, all the new plans we were offered seemed very similar. While some plans had a higher premium or different copay structure, they all covered a wide range of doctors and hospitals in our area, but I was still wary. What if, deep in the fine print, one policy limited the number of EKGs a patient could have covered in a year? What will our actual out-of-pocket costs be for heart surgery?

The scenarios I was coming up with—we’re out of town and Victor needs to go to the hospital, but his cardiologist is lecturing at a nearby hospital so it’s not out of network, right?—got more and more ridiculous. Does an ulcer induced by picking out your insurance policy count as a pre-existing condition?

Until pricey tests, specialists and the ever looming possibility of heart surgery became part of my life, the finer points of insurance were not something I had to consider. I tip my hat to all of you who have been doing this for much longer.


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The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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