Friday, September 23, 2011

Insurance's Money

My Dexcom system is a month out of its one year warranty.

So when a Dexcom sales person called and asked me if I needed new sensors (I don't, I have three unopened ones), I told her that I wanted to know what would happen if my current Dexcom broke- would I need to buy the whole new system, would we need to go through the whole process with insurance again, what?

So she said she'd have somebody do an investigation of benefits and call me back. The next day I got home from work to find a message on my answering machine that said good news, I was covered at 100%, and she'd gotten all the paper work, and my new system was ready to ship.

Only problem? I don't need a new system now. And I'm not interested in wasting money- not mine, not my insurance company's. So this morning I spent nine and a half minutes (seemed longer than it looks typed) arguing with the sales person at Dexcom, who was trying to convince me that the system was free to me, that it would be worth it to insurance for me to have a backup so as not to go a day without a system because I would be hospitalized without it (yeah, fucking, right- not). She said I couldn't know if my transmitter was failing. She also tried to convince me it was worth having my insurance company pay for a new system now because I would get a new case for the Dexcom. She emailed me a picture. It's a nice case. It also would cost a mere ten dollars if I want to buy it, whereas insurance would be paying in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars.
In the end, I managed to insist that I don't need a new system now and that I'll call when I do (or in December, so I don't have to do the process all over again).

It got me thinking about something, which I don't believe I've written directly about, but which is often on my mind. I believe in spending the insurance company's money as if it were my own, and I don't waste my own money, so I'm not going to waste theirs. If I wouldn't be willing to buy a particular thing for a person in my position if the money was mine, I'm not going to ask insurance to pay for it for me. I think that's the most moral position to take.

My best friend doesn't share my morals (frankly, nobody shares all of my moral values). He argues that insurance companies are for-profit companies, trying to squeeze me for my last dollar, and that they wouldn't hesitate to cheat me- so I should cheat back. Sometimes, particularly when I was being denied CGMS coverage entirely on the basis of my age, this made some sense to me. But I've never believed that I should lie when I am talking to a liar, and I don't see a value in cheating a cheater. I prize my honesty, what I've got of it.
Secondarily, the way I see it, some of the costs of whatever I use will trickle down to me, sooner or later. If insuring me costs more, perhaps I will pay more for insurance later on- and if I don't, well, the cost of insurance in general will have to be higher if people buy more medical things with it.

In real life, this has translated to being part of why I didn't use a pump four and a half years ago, although at this point I see more reasons. It's a part of why regular is so appealing to me. It's also something that sets me a bit apart from a lot of the diabetes community- because I have never ever seen this desire to save insurance money mentioned. Not once.


Michael Hoskins said...

Very interesting points, Jonah.

I'm not sure I see it as "cheating a cheater," though. In my view, it's a matter of getting what I pay for. If I pay obscene amounts for my insurance coverage, yet they scale back on my coverage and try to limit every single thing they pay out with my given premiums, then I feel I should make the most of it - after all, that's why I'm paying them for. You pay 100% of one thing that might not necessarily be needed right now, but skim on the really important tests and supplies I ACTUALLY DO need, then I might as well make up the difference somewhere to make it all even out. That's my take, anyhow. In the end, I end up losing more than I get anyhow.

Reyna said...

I have recently gone through the same issue with Joe's pump. It is out of Warranty. We hit the four year mark about 1/2 a year ago.

It, the pump, is working fine. Nothing is wrong with it. However, it is suggested by the pump company that we get another one ASAP due to the Warranty Issue.

Insurance won't approve of us just having one on hand to have it for "just in case". There is a lot more to this story, but I am keeping it on the down low...let's just say I am uncomfortable with not telling the truth just to get something for "just in case".

P.S. I didn't know that you cursed. I like a little F-bomb now and again (as you know) :)