OPEN LETTER TO INSURANCE COMPANIES

Let me start this letter by saying that I am independent Insurance Agent who sells Health Insurance. I am opposed to a Government sponsored public plan. I do not believe the government is telling us the truth when they say a government plan will allow choice of plan and doctor, insure the uninisureds, close the donut hole for seniors, have no rationing AND lower costs. The claims are so preposterous that I half expect the Sham Wow guy to be their next spokesman.

Having stated that, I want to make as clear as possible that we have a system in desperate need of reform. I will illustrate that the best way that I can. I received this letter from a man named David.

“I have been wanting to ask you about a personal issue I face.  Now, I DO NOT WANT to get into a debate about the health care reform, but I need some advice.

When I left a Fortune 500 Company in 1980, I could not keep my existing personal policy.  I bought my own for 9 years.  When my wife was pregnant with my son, the company failed and I paid for all of that myself.  It cost about $800 a month at that time for family coverage, and I got nothing.  Then I re-enrolled with another personal policy, and they cancelled coverage on the family after my oldest son needed a kidney operation.

When I attempted to enroll again, I was excluded because of my Hep-C.  Not sure what you know about Hep-C, but it is progressive and eventually terminal, though many people live with it so long that they die of old age before Hep-C can kill them.  Still, there is a better than average chance that I will need a liver transplant before age 70.

Still, not to worry, because I was covered by my wife’s federal Blue Cross (which also covered my gall bladder surgery) but there I am with another pre-existing condition.  Blue Cross for dependents is not portable, either.

So, now with a divorce imminent, I have three pre-existing conditions.  Hep C, gall bladder, and depression.  And no possibility of getting insurance which covers any of these.  In fact, my preliminary investigation indicates that no one wants me at all.

Over the years I have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in health insurance.  I have done everything right and responsibly.  And now I face potentially fatal issues with no ability to buy insurance, even though I am more than willing to do so.  So tell me, what am I to do without a public option?”

All Health Insurance agents hear similar stories every single week. This letter shows in a poignant way, why the current system is failing so many Americans. I have nothing in my inventory for David and so many others who call me weekly. There are limited benefit (not major medical) policies but that would be inadequate for a person like David.

David is eligible for a Portability policy without a pre-existing condition. To get this policy he has to apply and be denied by three companies. He still does not know what the cost of his policy will be.

The reason the government is moving ahead with a public plan is that the Insurance Companies have forgotten that they have a public trust. I am not suggesting that any Insurance Company bankrupt themselves. That would serve nobody. However, they can insure the public or they cannot. But DO NOT suggest that situations like this are acceptable.

If pooling of premiums does not allow Insurance Companies to give individuals like David any option, there is no alternative then to ask for government subsidy. That means the taxpayers step in to offer assistance to individuals like David. That would mean the Insurance Companies would only insure the healthy. All others would rely on government help.

Don’t want a Government Plan? Then the Insurance Companies need to tell David how he can get affordable coverage. So far they have not done that.

I still do not want a Government Plan. However, I am saying that the Insurance Companies need to end their deafening silence and make a proposal to people like David who has done everything correctly in his life and is now discarded as a “toxic asset”.

I know it can be done. Car Insurance Companies insure bad risks every day because it is required. If they charged $50,000 per year (a rate I have seen in my State for an individual over age 60 on a Portability Health Plan) for Car Insurance, what would happen? We would have government Car Insurance.

I have been defending Private Enterprise and opposing a Public Plan. Now it is time, Insurance Companies. Tell me what you can do. I am your friend here but you have to give me something to work with. David and others like him are at risk. Furthermore, this may well be your last chance.

Peter Lemieux CLU, ChFC

President, Peter Lemieux Agency

Chandler, Az.

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