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Very disappointed in United Healthcare
Old 04-28-2009, 08:47 AM   #1
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Very disappointed in United Healthcare

As an early retiree, I know the difficulties in obtaining health insurance even if you are relatively healthy. I was grateful to finally get a policy from AARP United Healthcare - their Medical Advantage Plan - it seemed perfect for me until I realized I was paying over $200 a month and they weren't paying for anything.

That's not entirely true - they paid for my prescpription drugs but when it came to ordinary hospital procedures (e.g. blood tests, mammogram, etc.) despite what the literature said about coverage up to $2000 per procedure - I was lucky to get 40% of what the actual cost was from the hospital. Consequently, I 'm stuck with alot of hospital bills that I thought were going to be covered undeer this plan.

I am very disappointed in their coverage and as a consequence will not even consider United Healthcare for my supplemental provider when I am 65. I understand the supplemental plan will be different because it is regulated but that doesn't change the fact that they charged me alot of money for relatively no coverage under this plan.

I just want to warn other potential early retirees looking for health coverage - United Healthcare's Medical Advantage plan through AARP is not worth the money. My trust in AARP has diminished too. I think they are giving people like me a bum steer when they advertise this as coverage for routine health care at an affordable price. It's way over priced for what you actually get.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:27 AM   #2
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1) Don't blame United Healthcare. This is the game that almost all of the insurers are playing. They pay "reasonable and customary" rates for procedures. But the provider charges significantly more and you are responsible for the difference. "reasonable and customary" are fantasy rates which no individual can get.

You should look for coverage with preferred provider organizations (PPOs) or with an HMO type organization.

2) Don't worry, Obama will fix it so that your healthcare is free.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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MasterBlaster,
I'm guessing this is a SPAM post - It is this person's first post and it reads like a form letter. I could be wrong. Just a guess on my part.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
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Welcome to the board, Crystal--we hope you'll post again to our "Hi I Am" board and tell us something about your retirement situation.

Why did you choose the AARP policy if it didn't cover everything you needed?
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
1)

2) Don't worry, Obama will fix it so that your healthcare is free.
You make it sound like free health care is a bad thing,lots of people out there wouldnt mind free health care although if its like the Canadian system its not actually free as your taxes are covering the cost but even then its a lot cheaper than what i'm reading as to the costs involved in a private US plan.Also up here premiums dont go up as you age or develop the pre existing conditions,you have health care for life.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:05 PM   #6
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>>> I was lucky to get 40% of what the actual cost was from the hospital. Consequently, I 'm stuck with alot of hospital bills that I thought were going to be covered undeer this plan. <<<

Maybe it's because I live in Pa, but I am not on the hook for the "remaining balance" when I used my policy. Until recently I had Anthem Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, and I only had to pay a copay of $20 and then also 10% of the "remaining balance". And the remaining balance was NOT defined by the huge amount charged by the hospital or doctor or lab. I was only on the hook for 10% of the remaining "reasonable and customary" cost, which, as stated, was way lower than the huge "billed" cost. Again, perhaps it is a state law in Pa that is protecting me.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:10 PM   #7
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You make it sound like free health care is a bad thing,lots of people out there wouldnt mind free health care although if its like the Canadian system its not actually free as your taxes are covering the cost but even then its a lot cheaper than what i'm reading as to the costs involved in a private US plan.Also up here premiums dont go up as you age or develop the pre existing conditions,you have health care for life.
It's not just Canada. No country in the world has free health care, and neither will the US.

You say that your health care is "cheaper than what I am reading." I'm surprised that each Canadian knows how much his health care costs. Is this somehow listed when Canadians do their taxes, or does the government send each Canadian a letter letting them know how much their contribution to the national health care system was for the previous year? It's possible to just do the math (divide total health care spent in a country by the number of people), but that certainly doesn't capture all the costs (In Canada, what's the "cost" of waiting 12 months longer for a knee replacement? Or, in the US, what's the "cost" when an uninsured diabetic goes without insulin and loses his/her vision?) and certainly won't tell an individual how much he/she paid.

"Tragedy of the commons. " (From Wikipedia)
Quote:
Central to Hardin's article is a metaphor of herders sharing a common parcel of land (the commons), on which they are all entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin's view, it is in each herder's interest to put as many cows as possible onto the land, even if the commons are damaged as a result. The herder receives all of the benefits from the additional cows, while the damage to the commons is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational decision, however, the commons are destroyed and all herders suffer."

The metaphor illustrates the argument that free access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately dooms the resource through over-exploitation. This occurs because the benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals or groups, each of whom is motivated to maximize use of the resource to the point in which they become reliant on it, while the costs of the exploitation are borne by all those to whom the resource is available (which may be a wider class of individuals than those who are exploiting it). This, in turn, causes demand for the resource to increase, which causes the problem to snowball to the point that the resource is exhausted.
Just as the metaphor applies to the environment, it also applies to any "good" paid for collectively but received individually. Including health care.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:28 PM   #8
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Theres good points and bad points to both systems and a combination of the two systems good points would make a great system.Personally i think the best system is a company medical plan in the USA where the employer foots the bill for the plan,only problem is when you quit or retire you usually have to go it alone and getting an insurance plan when you are in your sixties can be a problem especially if you have pre existing conditions.The Canadian plan used to itemize the cost on your paycheck but made it all inclusive in the federal tax witholdings 20yrs ago,at the time i believe they were deducting between $10-$15 a week
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