Allow me to introduce myself – Erika Napoletano. Writer. Self-employed. Small business owner. I carry my own health insurance. Your company’s health policy, as a matter of fact. For the price of $152.31, I have the privilege of paying $30 every time I need to go to the doctor, $50 to see a specialist, and I have a $1500 annual deductible with a $6,000 max out-of-pocket expense per annum. I can get prescriptions for $5 at your pharmacy (that is, if they’re on your Preferred List) and I only have to pay 20% of all expenses beyond my deductible.
Pretty awesome for a gal like me who runs her own company, right? Especially since I have no employer picking up even part of the tab on my insurance bill. Awwyeah – I am SET when it comes to health care!
I’m sending you this letter today to thank you. Yeah, I know you don’t really get a lot of thanks as of late, what with all the hubub with health care reform being the national topic du jour, but I am going to thank you. I have a ton to be thankful for, and if it weren’t for you, I would have a whole lot less. Since you have to get through this letter and on to the pile of letters complaining about your service, I’ll get my praise rolling. (Out of respect for your time, I’ve bullet-pointed my gratitude – I’m awesome like that.)
- Gratitude Point #1: Thanks for helping me save money. In July of this year, I broke my left ankle. Boy, oh boy – did I break it, and to the tune of eight screws and one plate. So, I sat down and reviewed my health coverage and decided to apply for a more comprehensive policy than the one I currently had. After all, what was $30 more a month to save me a couple thousand if I got hit by the proverbial truck again? No less than two weeks later, you sent me a letter, declining my request. The reason? Because I’d recently been on serious medication (Percocet for the pain following my ankle surgery) and had major surgery in the past 12 months (repairing my tibia & fibula – remember the plate and screws?). You’re right – what was I thinking? Slipping and falling down 2 stairs (the cause of my injury) has the potential to happen again. Considering I was on the pain pills for one whole week and still have half a bottle sitting in my kitchen drawer, the potential for addiction also exists. You have saved me $360 per year by declining my request for a better health plan. Thank you.
- Gratitude Point #2: Thanks for being willing to continue insuring me. I got my renewal notice in the mail yesterday. Considering I’m such a klutz and had to actually use my health insurance this year, I think it’s great that you’re willing to renew my health coverage for $168.30/month (that’s the policy for which I currently pay $152.31/month). You’ll let me spend $191.88 more a year on the same coverage I currently have but you still won’t let me spend $360 more per year on a better plan. You have still saved me $168.12 per year. Thank you.
- Gratitude Point #3: Thanks for letting everyone in your work place have the chance to excel. I am ALL about giving people the opportunity to expand their skill sets and your commitment to the practice – well, I have experienced it first-hand! When I was 11 days post-op, I went in to have my splint removed and a cast put on my ankle. I was escorted back to have my vitals taken, and the same man taking my vitals (with the designation MA – Medical Assistant – on his name badge) informed me he’d be the one removing my splint, surgical tape over my incisions and be redressing my wounds. Well, OK! After he caused me a pain that was possibly more excruciating than my original injury by almost ripping out my 11-day-old sutures, I finally succeeded in removing the surgical tape myself. He was awesome with the hydrogen peroxide wash and I have the scars on my left ankle where he ripped off my skin to remind me of his commitment to doing the job he was tasked with. You strengthen the patient-provider bond, especially between those with less than 62 hours of health science coursework (all of which can be taken ONLINE!). Thank you.
- Gratitude Point #4: You’ve made me something great – a valued customer. Since I went a got all clumsy and actually had to (gasp) use my health insurance, I’m now considered “high risk.” Since I’ve had this serious medication prescribed and undergone major surgery, I can’t apply to switch to another insurance carrier for at least twelve months. That means…I’m staying your customer! Isn’t that awesome? We get to be together for another twelve months of coverage. You’ve raised my premiums and I have no other choice than to remain your customer, but you ARE still saving me a net of $168.12 per year by not letting my enhance my policy and are keeping me moderately insured in the process. Thank you.
In closing, Kaiser Permanente (whoops-did I just say that?), I’d just like to say this: I originally applied for your insurance because your HMO center was close to my then-office. Easy access and decent premiums. Flippin’ sweet! But now that I’ve been your customer for less than a year, I have to say that access and cost should have been the least of my criteria for choosing a health provider. I don’t know if my experience at any other provider would have been different. Sad, but true.
While I don’t know what the solution is, we’ve got another 12 months to figure it out, don’t we? But hey – I know you’re busy being one of the largest health providers in Colorado and don’t have much time to spend helping me figure out a solution. Being a small business owner, heck – I’ve got all the time in the world! I’m working in a tough economy, building my brand and you know what? I’m doing it all myself. I have no Big Guy to help me save for retirement or give me a 401(k) match or pick up part of the tab on my benefits. No-sir-ree! I’m going to put on my big girl britches and sit over here and be thankful, by golly. Thankful I qualified for health insurance before I became such a “risk,” that I can pay your (soon-to-be-rising) premiums every month, and maybe I can score another injury by year’s end so I only have to pay for 20% of the cost for repair instead of $1,500 + 20% next year. (Wanna know a secret? I’m going to try to blow-out a shoulder or something. I hear those can be SPENDY!)