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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Miss Tricare.

Yup. I said it. I miss military medical insurance. And that's basically blasphemy, and I don't care.

Was it perfect? Of course not. Sometimes the military doctors (even the civilian ones employed by the military) were not as in tune with my needs as I would have liked. In fact, it took getting out and going to a civilian doctor to get the referral to the sleep doctor that I needed to get my diagnosis for my sleep disorder. Let's face it, though - that could happen anywhere. But that's about the only major gripe I can think of off the top of my head.

I've learned quite a bit in the nearly 4 years since I got out of the Navy when it comes to health care and health insurance that I had never had to deal with during almost 28 years being covered by Tricare and its predecessors. Who knew that a doctor's decision to prescribe a certain medication just isn't good enough for an insurance company, that said insurance company needs to authorize that medication too before they'll cover it? Who knew there was such a thing as a perscription deductible? Who knew that its totally legit for an insurance company to cover absolutley nothing related to allergy treatments until you meet your deductible? This last one is what spurned this whole thing - I went on my insurance page to check on something and found the explanation of benefits for the serum for my allergy shots. While my last insurance covered allergy stuff completely (I just paid an office visit copay for the two visits to the actual doctor), my current plan covers ABSOLUTELY NOTHING until I hit my deductible. Which I won't hit before our plan year restarts in May. The cost to actually get the shots is small - $21/week. But the serum? Turns out that stuff costs $156. And I get to spend that today, because we apparently finished a vial last time. It's worth it to me, because the shots have helped more than any allergy medicine (or cocktail of allergy meds) every has, but HOLY CRAP.

These, among others, are reasons why I have such a hard time with this whole health care debate we're having in this country, and why I was so disappointed when Obamacare didn't include tort reform. Do I think that everyone should be able to access at least bare minimum health care? Absolutely. But there are a few reasons why people can't right now, and those reasons are where the concentration of efforts should be, not forcing people to buy plans. Health care is expensive as hell. From what I understand, this is primarily because doctors and other providers have been forced to buy outrageously expensive malpractice insurance, and pass those costs along to their customers. Also, the only way to get even remotely affordable health insurance is to get it through your employer, provided you're lucky enough to have a job that provides such benefits. Individual insurance policies are expensive, and they can deny coverage for just about any reason. (This is where the pre-existing condition part of the Affordable Care Act comes in - so people like my little sister with arthritis or my friend with epilepsy or my other friend with a heart condition can get insurance.) Yeah, it sucks that the taxpayers have to pay for people to go to the emergency room that don't have insurance. I just don't see this as addressing the issues of WHY they don't have it. But maybe I just don't get it.

But I digress. I challenge all of those people complaining about Tricare to go for a few months on an average "regular" health insurance plan, provided by someone like Aetna or Blue Cross Blue Shield and see if they're still complaining about Tricare. Unless they're in perfect health and rarely use their health care, I'd be willing to bet that they'd breathe a huge sigh of relief when they get back to Tricare. I know I would be, warts and all. At least then I could get the things my doctors have told me I need without having to get additional permission from my insurance company and pay an arm and a leg for it.

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