Thursday, January 28, 2010

Antibiotic Hoarder

Two weeks ago, I awoke with a throbbing headache centered in my forehead. I ended up going to the doc who prescribed a z-pack of antibiotics — with a refill — because sinus infections are notoriously difficult to eliminate. After the 5 day course, and keeping up with the OTC decongestants, it seems to have been tamed.

So, what to do with that antibiotics refill? I filled it, of course! I had to decide whether to risk taking it and the infection coming back, or banking it for future use. I decided to bank it.

Why would I bank it? Because of the state of our health insurance industry.

• I'm a consultant that has to buy his own insurance. Because I don't currently make a lot of money, I'm on a NY government regulated health insurance plan. My rates are still $275/month and go up about every six months.
• I don't want BCBS, the policy underwriter, to know when I get sick because it goes into my "master health file" that can be used to increase my rates at a steeper clip and possibly deny me of a policy sometime in the future. When I have a kidney stone, I bear the pain as much as possible. When I lived in CA, BCBS was my provider there too and I had a 20% rider on my premiums since I'd had them before and were a "pre-existing" condition.
• I still pay a deductible for office visits and prescriptions that I'd rather not pay. Yep, I can't afford to get medical attention even though I have insurance. It's like the car insurance industry. Most of us would rather not report an accident to our insurance company, even though that's why we have it, for fear of future rate increases. Sad that it's better to spend $1K to fix your car yourself rather than turn in the claim which is why you have insurance in the first place. They make out; they've made us all afraid to make any claims which is more gravy for their profits.

I'm a "just in case" kinda guy and having that z-pack in my medicine chest gives me a bit of comfort.

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