So being able to write something positive about health insurance has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. That time is now.
When I became a freelancer in February 1993, I lost my company health insurance coverage. Since at that time I was writing about small businesses, I knew that some small business organizations offered group health insurance policies. I applied for one a year later when I got my diabetes diagnosis. Although the company that I applied to might have covered me, the surcharge for my diabetes made the policy awfully expensive.
But I am a veteran. I served about three years in the U.S. Army at the tail end of the Korean conflict, but my overseas service was in Germany. Since I don’t have any service-connected disability, I didn’t think that the local VA clinic would take me in. But they did and the coverage was great both at the clinic and a nearby VA hospital that I sometimes had to go to. It cost a lot less than an insurance policy. The only downside was that a visit to either the clinic or the hospital would take almost all of the day.
The VA has changed its coverage several times since then. As a result I don’t know if they still serve all veterans. But if you are a veteran – or even if you spouse is one – it’s sure worth checking out.
Speaking of a spouse, when I married in 1995, I got my wife’s health insurance coverage automatically. Not everybody can do that, not least of which is the problem of finding the right person.
Finally, I qualified for Medicare. They take everyone who is old enough.
But what can you do, if you don’t own a small business, aren't a veteran, are single, or aren't a senior citizen?
Some companies are beginning to insure people with diabetes. One that I know of is United American Insurance.
First, I heard from the agent for Colorado and neighboring states, Spencer Shaver. We had some preliminary discussions months ago. But I wasn’t too impressed, because Spencer told me that they did “rate” people with diabetes. That’s insurance-speak for a surcharge.
It wasn’t until I heard from one of his satisfied customers, Kyle Daylong, that I decided to follow up.
“I am somewhat surprised when you mentioned that you were unimpressed,” Kyle replied. “For most of us diabetics, insurance coverage is not available at any price. I went for five years talking to every provider in Colorado – and not one of them would even touch me due to diabetes.”
The only alternative for Kyle, who is too young for Medicare, is the Colorado indigent care program, “Colorado Cares.” But Kyle’s experience with applying for it was somewhat less than satisfactory.
“Ever tried applying with the state’s group?” he asked me. “It’s a real eye opener. And about the most humiliating thing I’ve ever had to try to endure. I left after two hours of cooling my heels, followed by an hour of humiliating third-degree questioning, probing, and then accusations of my not ‘needing or deserving’ their help.”