For many long years, fatherhood to me has had only one dimension: garnishments for child support and unreinmbursed medical expenses for my daughters. Since August 2010, I am enjoying the new rights granted to me by the Supreme Court of New York: being allowed to talk to providers of medical services to my daughters and ask them to fill insurance claim forms: exhilarating.
First order of business: trying to recoup part of some $10,800 of orthodontic expenses for my daughter Chloé between 2006 to
August 2010; From 2006 to March 2008, I was insured with Cigna Dental. No hope there: the $8,000 and change of orthodontic expenses incurred during this period are too old to be claimed (I have to remember to ask Cigna to send courtesy t-shirts with the Cigna logo to Ex and Support Magistrate Grey). From April 2008 to November 2009, I had Delta Dental: maybe a slight glimpse of hope for another $2,000 with the “Delta Dental over-the-year review”. Last, a remaining paltry $800 from the beginning of 2010 on, when I became insured with Metlife. I finally learned after four calls that I can forget about it. These expenses are for follow-up visits after the braces were removed in December 2009, and I was not insured by Metlife then. Why is Metlife not covering follow-up visits? Because. They just ain’t. Have a nice day.
It is not difficult to figure out why the medical professions and private insurance companies don’t want to change anything to the current health insurance system. The former charge whatever they want, the latter cover whatever they want, how much they want and whenever they want. In the middle stand the insured patients, for whom almost every claim is an ordeal.
The main advantage of the new health care law that will be effective four years from now is to allow the 47 million uninsured American to have access to the crumbs of coverage that the currently insured benefit from. Better than nothing, but so tiny compared with what the problem required and what we could have had: a public option (for instance an extension of medicare to the rest of us, as Paul Krugman vindicated) that would have provided us wide, non-contested coverage. That’s what Tea partiers will never get: public insurance companies are not in the business of denying claims.