As I said last week, when I became self-employed, I purchased an individual health insurance policy. I am now one of the estimated 4.7 million people whose existing health insurance has been canceled by Obamacare. I didn’t have much choice but to apply for an Obamacare health insurance policy to replace my canceled policy. I started applying for an Obamacare policy on October 1st and despite spending now over 90 hours on this already, I still do not have health insurance I can use.
Much has already been written about the horrible ‘HealthCare.gov’ web site. It was horrible, and it took me over a month to complete my application. I put in long hours at night and on the weekends because they were the only times the web site was up.
On Nov. 7, the ‘HealthCare.gov’ web site finally let me select a health insurance policy. The ‘HealthCare.gov’ web site then sent my application to ‘The Only Insurance Company In This Area Selling Obamacare Policies’ (TOICITASOP). For almost two months, TOICITASOP literally did nothing with my application, and never contacted me.
Even though they never contacted me, on Dec. 18 I mailed TOICITASOP a check for my first month’s premium. I sent it to an address in California that they gave me. They apparently threw my check in the trash because they never cashed it.
After a New Year’s Day phone tirade from me, on January 3 I finally received a letter from TOICITASOP acknowledging my application in writing and giving me correct instructions on how to make an on-line payment of my first month’s premium. I immediately paid my first month’s premium a second time, this time using a debit card. My debit card transaction sat untouched for almost two weeks and has just now been posted.
TOICITASOP has my application, and I know what my membership ID number is. They have not sent me a policy or a membership card, but I have paid my first month’s premium. I have an email from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that says that once I pay the first month’s premium, my coverage is effective on January 1. Unfortunately, that is a lie just like, “If you like your existing insurance, you can keep it.”
There are now very few articles being written about Obamacare by the national media. They have moved on to much more important stories like Gov. Christie. But there is a dirty little story here that no one else is covering, so let me be the first to introduce you to TOICITASOP’s verification system.
Healthcare providers are required by insurance companies to verify coverage and pre-certify procedures before the insurer will pay anything. No verification, no payment. But a new policyholder does not automatically show up in TOICITASOP’s online verification system. TOICITASOP has to actually enable a new policyholder before they will show up, and until they do, their health insurance is worthless. So sorry.
Even though I have paid my premium, TOICITASOP has not enabled me in their verification system. To find out why, on Monday of this week I spent 5 ½ hours making 16 phone calls. On fifteen of those calls, I was either disconnected or hung up on. Three times I had been on hold for over 30 minutes when I was disconnected. Twice I actually made it to talk to a pre-certification representative. Both times, when I said I was not showing up in the verification system, they asked if I had an ACA (Obamacare) policy. When I said ‘yes,’ they both immediately hung up on me. How dare I ask a question like that? Welcome to government controlled healthcare, where representatives are free to clear the queues by hanging up on anyone they choose.
This is a great deal for TOICITASOP. They get to collect your premiums and as long as they keep you out of the verification system, they don’t have to worry about paying anything out. And the best part is that it is the healthcare providers who perform the verifications that will get most of the blame. How cool is that?
All this raises a serious question I asked last week: Who is responsible for making sure TOICITASOP actually issues policies and enables policyholders in their verification system? Not the state insurance regulators because this is now a federal matter. ‘HealthCare.gov’ is emphatic that once an application is sent, it is out of their hands. As far as I can see, there is no one who is going to force the Obamacare insurance companies to do anything. Good luck trying to find someone at either ‘HealthCare.gov’ or TOICITASOP who gives a rip.
My doctor’s office tells me that this is now happening all the time. People come into the office with print-outs from their computers trying to show they have insurance. But until TOICITASOP puts them in their verification system, the insurance is worthless.
If you think this may have happened to you, here is how you can tell if you are in TOICITASOP’s verification system. Call the TOICITASOP cynically-named customer service number. When the mechanical voice asks who you are, say “member.” When asked what you want to do, say “medical.” When asked if you are calling for a pre-certification, say “yes.” When asked what kind of service, say “medical.” When asked again if you are a member, press ‘1.’ You will then be prompted for your social security number. If the voice says that you “could not be located,” then you are not in the verification system, and your insurance is worthless. Be very careful not to get sick or be in an accident.
After reading last week’s column, several people told me that they were glad they had health insurance through their employer and did not have to go through what I was going through. This proves that there are lots of people who are not paying attention.
My existing health insurance was canceled by Obamacare’s individual mandate. But Obamacare has an employer mandate that is even worse. The only reason that those of you who have your health insurance through your employer are not having my problems yet is because President Obama delayed the implementation of the employer mandate. But be advised: Your day is coming. Soon.
I am now a single-issue voter, and I am focused. I will do everything I can to defeat anyone who either voted for Obamacare, or failed to defund it. Sen. Mark Warner is up for re-election in November, and Eric Cantor has a Republican primary challenger named David Brat.
David Brat is an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, and is Chair of the Department of Economics and Business. One of Dr. Brat’s areas of specialization is macro growth economics. I happened to find an interview Dr. Brat gave the Richmond Times Dispatch where he outlined the importance of property rights and the rule of law on economic growth. Finally, there is an adult in the room.
I have been in contact with his campaign manager, and we are working on an opportunity for me to interview Dr. Brat for this column. I really want to hear what he has to say.
Bryant Osborn and his wife Terry own Corvallis Farms in Culpeper County, although Bryant is so disgusted with Obamacare that he is now sorry he ever went down this path. His column on fresh and locally grown food runs every Friday.