Health Care US Style

By Paul Gipe

Note: January 14, 2014; Miracle of Miracles. We’re in. Our payment has cleared. They’ve taken our money. We received our “cards” 20 January and the first invoice. I went on line to pay for the next month. Clunky bill pay function but I sign up and pay the second month. 22 January electronic payment hasn’t cleared. However, the paper check cleared 22 January. Progress–I guess.


This health-care roll-out has been an amazing thing to watch.

1. Federal web site crashes. People jump up and down. Government incompetence.
2. State web sites slow down. People jump up and down. Government incompetence.
3. Private insurance companies web sites crash. No longer takes calls. People jump up and down. Government incompetence. Oh, wait. . .

We registered with the “exchange” sometime around 13 December and picked our current insurer–so our doctors stay the same.

We return to California before the 1st of the year and still no invoice.

On 30 December we call our insurer. We get through after a mere hour wait. Se sends us a code to pay on line. She says we’ll get our “cards” later in the week if we pay on 30 December. We pay on line–we think. We get electronic confirmation.

We receive invoice by mail mid week.

No record of electronic payment clearing bank.

I go on line to pay a second time–just in case I made a mistake. Web site no longer takes electronic payments, nor telephone payments.

I write a paper check on 7 January against paper invoice.

State extends deadline to 25 January.

13 January neither payment has cleared the bank.

I call insurer. Go through call tree, receive message that they are no longer taking calls. Yep. You heard it here first. One of the biggest insurers in the US will no longer take calls on this topic.

Deadline extended by insurer to 31 January.

We have a payment on our current insurance past due. The difference is $1,000.

We’re sophisticated, reasonably competent consumers.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for others.

This is a program designed by and for the insurance companies. (That’s not a political exaggeration. That’s a fact.) And they can’t handle it.