29 August 2005

I Hate Insurance Companies

So here's the thing about being in the stage actors's union. It's relatively easy for members to get insurance coverage. Not as easy as it used to be; back the the halcyon days of yore, you only had to work ten weeks out of the year to get coverage for twelve months. Recently, say in the last year or two, the rules have changed -- they're trying to keep costs down -- so now you have to work twelve weeks during a given year to get six months worth of coverage, or twenty weeks during a given year to get a full year's worth of coverage.

Last year's work had given me (alas) nineteen work weeks, so I only got six months of coverage, which began on January 1 of this year. My work from this summer is going to net me a year's worth of coverage beginning October 1st. The fact that I didn't have coverage during the only time in the last, say, ten years when I actually really needed it (remember the 14-day fever, kids? The woefully nasty first-ever case of "jock itch?" The days of awful humidity when I couldn't breathe for the allergies?) is a pain, but okay, I dealt with it and survived.

Here's what bugs me. I just got a letter from my main health care provider, The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York -- a place I adore and one which rescued me when my ex left me on my first apartment's doorstep with a case of strep throat and drove off -- telling me that due to contract and pricing negotiations that went south, they're ending their association with my insurance company, Cigna. If I want to continue with the doctors and the services I've been using since I moved to New York four years ago, I have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed at, like, 80% of cost...after deductibles. I can't afford that.

So now I have to go to the trouble of finding a new provider and getting all my records switched over to some doctor with whom I'm not comfortable. I can't tell you how I'm lookin forward to this.

The silver lining in this cloud, though, is that I now have no compunction about asking my cute doctor out on a date. Watch out, Dr. Hickey. I'm coming for you.

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