Thanks to our cracker jack insurance agent, Dick Lucier of Diversified Benefits, we're expecting to have new health insurance coverage come January 1st, 2011. When Bernadette arrived, we added her to our existing policy, but Johnny thought it might be a good idea to contact Dick to see if there might be a better option for us. Indeed, there was!
Adding a third person to Johnny's policy (because Deirdre, Bernadette and Johnny are on one policy, while I'm on my own) added a chunk of change to the premium - but Dick was able to find one that would save us money AND improve our benefits. Three cheers for Dick!
We're not in yet, but I expect there to be no problem. If we were looking to switch my insurance, then yes - there would be cause for concern. But I think the girls and their Dad will be underwritten without any trouble at all.
Every time we contact Dick and cry our insurance woes to him, he's able to pull policies out of his hat. I don't know why anyone would hesitate to use an insurance broker - he costs us nothing, and in fact, saves us a ton by doing all of the research for us and presenting us with the best value for our money. I can't imagine wading through all of that insurance jargon in order to find the best policies for our family - but Dick jumps right in and makes everything better.
So if Dick can perform health insurance miracles (he found health coverage for this lupite, after all), why doesn't everyone use him, or someone like him? I thought of two reason, both of which seem to have a bit of crossover when it comes to lupus:
1) Skepticism - So what does Dick get out of the whole deal? Well, I'd imagine some sort of fee paid by the company of the policy we choose. Does it cost us anything for him to do all of the research, legwork, and paperwork, not to mention the deciphering and interpreting related to finding the best policy for us? Not a penny. It doesn't cost us one cent to ask for his help, and he expects nothing in return (well, maybe a referral or two...).
Sounds a lot like those friends and family members who want to help out in our time of need, doesn't it? They ask for nothing, and expect nothing in return. But we assume that when someone lends a hand, they want something for their time and energy, don't we? Most of the time, that just isn't the case.
So during this holiday season, when you're strapped for time and running yourself ragged trying to get everything accomplished before Old St. Nick arrives, don't turn away that friend or family member willing to help. Take them up on their offer to pitch in - they're looking for ways to help...simply show them the way.
And that goes for the grocery baggers of the world, too. If free assistance is offered when you're out and about, accept it. Your joints will thank you!
2) Ignorance - Sometimes, it seems easier not to know what you don't know, doesn't it? For me, insurance mumbo jumbo is just that - a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I know my way around an EOB (explanation of benefits), but when it comes to the finer details of my policy, I welcome Dick's explanation of what I'm getting and why. Once he breaks everything down for us, it's clear that it really IS better to be in the know. Not only are we able to figure out the best health coverage for our family, I'm armed and ready to fight for the benefits that we're entitled to...because I know what's covered and what's not. (Anyone with a chronic illness knows just how diligent you have to be when it comes to those insurance claims. It PAYS to know, I promise you that!)
And the same goes for the finer points of our disease. Take medication for instance: don't ask me why we're reluctant to ask the doctor for clarification regarding treatment or a prescription we're taking for our disease. We should know what we're taking and why, we need to know, but for some reason, we just don't ask. Maybe it seems too complicated to ask, but I can assure you - it's going to be a lot more confusing not to know what you're taking or why.
(Quick litmus test - check your list of medications. Is there one listed that you don't know the reason you're taking it? If so, ask the next time you're at the doctor. I know, I know - the reason might be to counteract the effects of another drug you're taking - but it's better to know that than not to know at all! How else are you going to assert yourself against your disease?)
Another finer point - our lifestyle: I can't tell you why we put our head in the sand when it comes to the obvious connection between our overworked body and our overactive immune system. Connecting the dots can be complicated, I know, and sometimes we don't want to own up to the factors that are causing our disease to flare (too much stress, too little sleep), but you owe it to yourself to know what helps and what hinders your body's performance.
Bottom line - don't miss even one opportunity to get a step ahead of your disease. Arm yourself with knowledge. It really IS everything!