|Tiger Mom in cage|
The saga of getting Vimpat on Anthem's formulary so that we can afford to give the drug to Sophie continues. For me, each day begins with a review of whom I need to call, to whom I need to send a letter and whom I need to email. I have a friend working on speaking with my assemblyman about the matter, someone who is on the insurance commission -- not health insurance, but he's closest in power. I have a colleague at the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles who is in contact with a director over at the national office; evidently, this matter comes up all the time and there are even educational documents for the insurance company to read (at their leisure), bringing them up to speed on issues unique to epilepsy and anti-seizure medication. Anthem is not alone in private insurance company ignorance. Surprise, surprise. In addition to the grievance process with Anthem, I've also filed a complaint with the California Insurance Commission, advice given to me by some higher-upper at the Epilepsy Foundation. It's a lot of make-work, if you ask me, incredibly frustrating and inefficient and all in the name of FREE ENTERPRISE.
The highest irony of all is the letter I got yesterday from Anthem. It seems that "due to increased medical costs," Sophie's insurance premium will be increased another 35% by April 1st. Her insurance premium has been increased 69% in the two years that we've had it. I've mentioned before that we were unable to add Sophie to our family policy because of her pre-existing condition. While this is changing, I should also note that our health insurance premium (for The Husband, myself and our two sons) has increased by over 80% in the three years we've had it.
The salary of the CEO of Anthem Blue Cross was over $10 MILLION last year. Here's a tasty tidbit of free enterprise at its best:
Anthem and Wellpoint had at least two internal initiatives to fund: multi-million dollar lobbying efforts to kill reform, and payment of plump severance packages to executives and highly compensated CEOs, such as Angela Braly, whose $10 million salary is augmented by off-the-books benefits and stock options. It was Braly who announced bluntly at a business meeting that the corporation puts profits over people: "We will not sacrifice profitability for membership. (from www.sickofbluecross.com)
I'm off to make those calls, write those letters, pull myself up (and hopefully others as well) by the proverbial bootstraps and revel in what The Ohioan Tan Man (Speaker of the House Boehner) called as late as last week, "the greatest healthcare system on Earth."