COBRA – Nice in theory

Capitol Building CobraAbout a week ago I wrote a post detailing my family transition from a company subsidized health care plan to bearing the full cost of the plan under COBRA.

I’m astonished to report that the bureaucratic ineptness and bungling continues. As of yesterday, having invested just under $3,000 of my own money I find myself… still without any kind of coverage whatsoever. Effectively, we have been without any medical coverage since the beginning of November and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. Were I to visit a physician’s office, the pharmacy, the dentist or the Emergency room all will tell me that, according to Aetna I have no medical coverage at all.

Of course some day all this will likely be reconciled but that does not eliminate the possibility of financial ruin and rejection of medical care due to lack of insurance. My credit card limits are sizable but it is doubtful that even they could handle more than a couple of days in any hospital.

The added twist comes with the new year when my new insurance company is introduced (my former company is switching from Aetna to Cigna). Who knows how it will play out when one of us visits a pharmacy or medical clinic in the next month or so?

Sadly, it appears that your best bet is… well… there doesn’t appear to be one.

The COBRA system was likely conceived in good faith by beltway individuals who may understand theories of economics but have assistants and enough notoriety that they remain effectively shielded from the “normal” experience of dealing with the systems that evolve to administer such legislation. It’s long been my opinion that things only get fixed when those responsible for them must endure them directly. This does not happen with health care and legislators, doctors or anybody with a say in how such things run.

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