Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


A letter to health insurance companies

Share

Dear Health Insurance Companies,

First and foremost, please recognize that this letter is not directed towards insurance companies who stand by their word and help people, nor is it directed at the many wonderful doctors out there. This letter is directed to health insurance companies who have not stood by their word and who have not helped people, but instead made lives harder.

Recently, a doctor suggested to someone in my life that they see a counselor. Without insurance, therapy sessions can cost upwards of $250 an hour. For my friend, with insurance, the therapy session cost upwards of $250 an hour. See the problem? Sarah Oliveras

The purpose of health insurance is to help you pay for your health care. It is meant to serve as financial protection in the event of an overwhelming medical expense. It is reasonable to assume that a $250 per hour therapy session multiple times a month is an overwhelming medical expense for the majority of people. Keep in mind that the cost is with the “help” of insurance.

The fact that my friend’s story is only one of thousands of similar stories saddens me. Before writing this letter, I did some research about the joy of the American health care system and what I found is appalling. For example, a 2013 survey conducted by The Commonwealth Fund revealed that in the United States, 37 percent of adults did not receive essential care due to overwhelming costs.

Meanwhile, just 4 to 6 percent of citizens in the United Kingdom and Sweden faced the same issue. On top of that, in 2013, 41 percent of U.S. citizens with health insurance spent $1,000 or more out of pocket, while only 2 to 3 percent of United Kingdom and Sweden citizens had to pay similar costs. Spot the issue?

Prior to writing this letter I researched popular insurance companies and their claims . One company claims that, “No matter how you get into the complex healthcare system, we can make it simpler.” On the company’s website, an anonymous reviewer wrote “Each time I called I was referred to another person who couldn’t help me. When I took matters into my own hands it took me three hours of leg work to finally find a doctor. If I’m paying a premium, I expect much better service.” Sounds simple to me.

Another company states: “Life is amazing. We want you around for all of it.” On the company’s website, an anonymous reviewer wrote: “My doctor told my son he needed urgent neurology appointment. They cannot provide him an appointment for three months. I have been repeatedly billed for visits that have been paid for. I provided dates that I paid and am still billed for it. I use to love [the company], but now I hate it. My family is not getting the coverage that we need.”

At the end of the day, we are thankful for what little you do help us with. I’m just tired of seeing loved ones be scared to admit they need help because they cannot afford what they need. I urge you to stand by your claims and focus on people rather than profit.

Sarah Oliveras is a senior at West Linn High School.