Over the topPosted: November 14, 2012
As I sat down to write up my post today, I discovered a draft of a post called “Notes from the woods.” There were no words. Just images. The photos were taken back in October when there was still quite a bit of color in the woods. I thought about trashing the post, but the photos insisted on having their day, and the woods were just too pretty to say no to them.
This morning was interesting. I spent part of it sitting with a feeling of frustration and, I gotta tell ya, as far as companions go, frustration is not a good one to have around. It would have been easy to walk away from it, but I was curious as to why I was frustrated to the point of tears, and wanted to get to the bottom of it.
Last year during open enrollment season, our health insurance company offered a 10% discount if we filled out a Personal Health Record (PHR) online. I spent several weeks trying to access mine, going back and forth with their tech support, getting frustrated and feeling stupid (because many tech support people are very good at making the people they are helping feel that way). I would have given up, but since I am no longer the recipient of a paycheck, a 10% discount is a big help and a huge chunk of change.
I did eventually get to the health survey only to find that they were asking questions I prefer not to discuss with anyone other than my doctor or my husband (or maybe a really close friend). They say the purpose of filling out this survey and answering personal questions is to help me live a healthy lifestyle. Well, that’s cool but I’ve seen no evidence of that. They won’t pay for a gym membership and personal trainer so I can learn how to exercise properly to lose weight and prevent injury. There are no discounts for healthy eating, regular exercise, yoga, meditation, etc. I haven’t received so much as an email from them over this past year, offering me health tips. Prevention is not the name of the medical insurance game here in the U.S. It ought to be, but it’s not. Plus I have serious doubts about putting personal information into an online health insurance data base since there are no guarantees of privacy. I’ve had to have credit cards cancelled because an account was hacked so I know there are no guarantees.
Fast forward to this morning. It is open enrollment season again, and the PHR has to be filled out again in order to get that 10% discount. I spent a half hour following their instructions and could not access my PHR. I am not a stupid person. I can follow directions. The problem, I suspect, is once again on their end. The other problem is that I’m still not comfortable with the idea of answering personal questions online for strangers to use as they will. To be honest, I was not entirely honest when I answered those questions last year. And last year, I was okay with that because I felt some things are none of their business.
So, digging down into the frustration, I realized that the root of the problem is the dilemma this has caused. Honesty vs. privacy. I’m guessing a lot of folks wouldn’t have a problem being less than honest in this situation. I didn’t. But that was last year. This year I’m more inclined towards living an authentic and honest life, an inclination that has me questioning things I might have let slide in the past.
There is one other factor in all of this, too. I understand how helpful it would be to have my medical history in one place. It might even be lifesaving. My doctor is not online. She doesn’t even provide an email address for her patients. Her charts are still done by hand. I suppose it’s possible that this medical history I’m filling out online could be the beginnings of a database that has the potential to be beneficial.
I don’t think that’s the case with this particular company or PHR. Having dealt with plenty of insurance companies over the years, I suspect their motivation is geared more towards their profit margins than it is towards helping me. If they are not honest in their dealings with me, do I have an obligation to be honest in my dealings with them? (Aside from health insurance fraud, which is not what I’m talking about here.)
What do you think? How would you deal with this issue?
Thanks for visiting, and reading as I ramble on about fun times with health insurance. I hope your day has been smooth, easy, and frustration-free. If not, I highly recommend a walk outdoors. It works wonders.
Physically you are a human being, but mentally you are incomplete. Given that we have this physical human form, we must safeguard our mental capacity for judgment. For that, we cannot take out insurance; the insurance company is within: self-discipline, self-awareness, and a clear realization of the disadvantages of anger and the positive effects of kindness.
~ His Holiness the Dali Lama