I went online to fill out the application for a lower deductible from my current provider, AETNA. I was quoted, online, $1100 per month. The online application required me to provide detailed healthy history and credit card information.
A year ago, when I increased my deductible because of the regular cost increases, no review was required. But when I went to shop lowering my deductible, AETNA required a FULL review as though mine were a new application and as if they didn't already have access to my full health history.
After my wife and I spent two hours on the phone (aggravating?, you tell me), and the company through a third party vendor ("Hello, I am here to ask you questions about your health history. I am a certified medical doctor.") went through our health history with a fine toothed comb, the initial deductible re-materialized 50 percent higher from the online quote: from $1100 to $1800 per month.
My current AETNA policy (with the $10K deductible) is a quarter, of that cost, so when the AETNA representative called to tell me I had been "accepted", I declined.
I want to repeat this: I declined. I also made clear that I wanted to keep my existing policy. "Oh, nothing will happen to your existing policy," the AETNA representative politely told me. I didn't believe her.
To make sure I wouldn't lose my existing policy, after the call was over, I immediately called AETNA billing, to be sure the "new" policy wasn't automatically put into effect and to emphasize for a second time, that I intended to keep the policy with its high deductible: $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per family.
In other words, I declined the new coverage to two AETNA representatives on separate phone calls. I'm safe, right?
Two days later, I received an email that AETNA charged my credit card $1800 for the new policy. It was on a Saturday.
I called the AETNA help desk, but it was closed. "Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM etc. etc." So I sent AETNA customer service an email immediately, complaining.
So let's review this. The AETNA billing department was closed on Saturday, and yet the AETNA computer had billed me $1800.
A day later, on Sunday, I received a reply that my credit card would be credited in 5-7 business days. It still hasn't been credited.
In my opinion, what my health care provider did constitutes theft. Theft, as clearly as if someone stole my wallet. A little more sophisticated, but theft nonetheless.
As for what my $10,000 deductible gets us? You tell me, and I'd especially like to hear from the Tea Party crazies who believe that health care reform is a communist conspiracy.