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The Beast

The acquisition of our company has led us to its final chapter which is to liquidate the shell. This is like tackling an octopus with a hundred limbs to the ground.

Over the last two decades we have subscribed to numerous memberships, plans, and licenses. Not to mention payroll, 401K, and health benefits. Book-keeping and tax filings will continue but all of the dissolution paperwork has to kick in a timely way. Keeping steady on our legal and fiduciary responsibility remains front and center on all activities.

But no, this octopus is not the beast that is felling me.

From the beginning of this wind-down, the topic that has kept me up at night is health and dental insurance.

Cancelling the corporate health and dental plans took a letter. The pressing issue was finding private insurance for myself. I’ve been with Anthem (Blue Cross) for decades and it was only natural that I reached out to them to enroll in an individual plan.

Getting to a sales agent took seconds. Then, I entered the gates of hell.

Tarun says I have the patience of Job when it comes to making things happen on the phone, but this one caused anxiety attacks. Two weeks and several phone calls in - one lasting 90 minutes on two phones with two people - because I was too afraid of disconnecting if I conferenced them! - made me abandon Anthem for the Healthcare Marketplace aka the Exchange.

Let that sink in.

I abandoned the private enterprise to enroll in a government program in a country where capitalism is non-negotiable!

The bottom line is that health insurers are hobbling outside of the Marketplace. When I applied directly with Anthem, their website bungled the job-related qualifying event and denied me coverage in 2021, while open enrollment only allowed for 2022 enrollment. This meant I'd be uninsured for a month, not a possibility I wanted to entertain in any scenario!!

In my last call with Anthem I had them cancel my application and then I went to the Exchange where I applied, enrolled, paid for the first month in less than 20 minutes. Here’s the irony - I enrolled on the Exchange for an Anthem plan!

“I told you to go to the Marketplace!” was the concluding remark from the Anthem salesperson. At that point, Job exited as Satan took over and I gave her a piece of my mind.

I thought I'd seen the underbelly of this health insurance system when my MIL came to live with us pre-ACA. What I experienced now is absurd at multiple levels.

First, I have 20 years of experience evaluating health plan options and functioning in the online world, yet I fumbled. How on earth do others who have never done this before navigate the system?!

Second, I had the leeway to call so many times. How does someone juggling multiple jobs do this?

Third, the premiums are astronomical. Even with credits this is an outrageously expensive system.

If you are insured by your employer, through your spouse, or you are on Medicare, please take a moment to send a thankful prayer for your good luck. For the rest of us, may Heaven help as we contend annually with this gnarly beast that is getting more aggressive each year and driving me to drink!

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