Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pre-existing Poof

Question 1. Ok, how does one choose health insurance?
What a completely unexpected question. Remember that scene in 300 where the young warrior was sent out into the woods alone to be hunted by some animal that I never saw because I had my eyes closed? That’s what picking health insurance is like, in that it will thoroughly test your maturity and if you don’t do it right, your death will be both ignominious and painful.  I’m just kidding. Of course that would never happen in an industrialized, wealthy nation such as ours. So clearly you don’t really need to worry, but just for fun, the first thing you should do is go over all your medical expenses from the last year. This should be easy because you already organized them when you went over your deductible medical expenses at tax time, right? Deductible medical expenses? Yeah. 
Looking at your expenses, decide how extensively you use medical services. Do you have a chronic condition that requires frequent visits to a doctor or specialist? Or did you only remember where the nearest clinic was after you accidentally Little Debbie’d your way into a temporary diabetic coma? If you are regular at your doctor’s office (meaning you probably know the billing manager’s name and personal extension), look into a plan with a low deductible and low co-pays. Since you probably can’t afford that, go for a higher deductible and 80/20 or 90/10 co-insurance. This means that after you meet your deductible, the insurance company will pay a percent of services and you will pay the remainder. If you stay in-network you will most likely still get a discount while you are paying down the deductible. In the meantime, ask for a payment plan and remember that out-of-pocket expenses are usually deductible if you itemize.
On the other hand, if you are unnaturally healthy and really only need insurance in the event of an emergency, you may be accepted into a “healthy” plan. These plans give special rates for people who, frankly, don’t use insurance. You may pay a low co-pay for a yearly physical and if something catastrophic happens you will still be covered. Always check your plan for your out-of-pocket costs. Also, be aware that your robustness is annoying.
If you are a woman or have a woman on your plan, pay special attention to your plan’s maternity coverage. As of right now maternity coverage can still be a separate policy. I don’t care if your pregnancy would signal the Second Coming. You don’t want to be caught providing sub-par prenatal care to little Baby Jesus, not right before the Apocalypse.
Finally, none of these plans are perfect. Unlike the Spartan, you will never completely slay your opponent. You will need to keep outsmarting it and reevaluating until you land that cushy job with wonderful benefits or move to Canada. Oh, and don’t be lured by some cheap, fly-by-night company because chances are their network will include Dr. Nick Riviera and that hospital on the other side of the state that made the news recently. Go with the devils everybody knows. 
Question 2. How do I stop staring at my co-worker’s Jersey poof?
Why would you want to stop? Jersey poofs are miraculous works of art symbolizing a woman’s triumph over gravity and nature. They are the vainglorious, Gothic cathedrals of our time.

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