It is almost time again for the United States to hold open enrollment for their own form of healthcare (legalized extortion) insurance! So let's take a quick look at how this works in a supposed world where it is taught to be a "smart consumer", to shop wisely and ultimately be satisfied with spending a given amount for goods or services. (I think they call it capitalism?)
I want to buy health insurance but can only do so during a designated period, generally mid-November through mid-December each year. So maybe I can find out if my doctors (the one's I've worked so hard to find because these are the one's who's opinions I respect and value so deeply) are part of which insurance companies programs ("in-network")? Well I'd have to check with each doctor and ask if they could give me a list of insurance companies that they are currently "in-network" with. But now remember, they can be removed (or drop from the network themselves) from individual insurance company networks at any time during the subsequent year for a myriad of reasons - either theirs or the insurance company's! Isn't it reassuring knowing that after committing to an expensive (let's face it they are all expensive to middle classers or below) policy that you have to keep for at least 1 year that your doctors, medical products or medical services may not be covered for the year as in-network? Or I can dig up as many insurance companies as possible that sell in my state and then use their kludgy, often not working online "find a doctor" lookups to see if my doctors are listed as "in-network" with each one. Also here remember that even if you find a doctor listed they may be "out of network" the following day or week!
Say, I have a chronic illness and need supplies (durable medical supplies) and want to find out which manufacturer supplies are covered under a given insurance company. Good luck, I have found that the manufacturers require you to give them a doctor’s prescription for their product or product supplies before they will give you pricing let alone whether or not they are considered "in-network". Then you have to consider what and how much of any of those covered supplies or services will be paid for by insurance – according to the suppliers that is never a given. How much is your coinsurance for these things? (my current policy is a $0 deductible and for my specific chronic illness my coinsurance is 100% but I've been notified that my plan is changing this coming year - decreasing my coinsurance from 100% to only 50%! Bait and switch or just plain scam - you call it) The insurance industry excels at this kind of profit increase for themselves and cost increase for the hapless public!
As a consumer of health insurance you are effectively blocked from being able to do your due diligence and from being a truly smart consumer by the corruption, collusion and just plain fraud that is pervasive within this so called health insurance system. The collusion is mostly created by and directed through the insurance companies themselves - very much like the tactics used by organized crime. Of course along with assistance from Congress. (if you make the laws slanted towards those in control then 1. they will greatly profit from it and 2. they won't be held accountable.)