Monday, June 20, 2011

Punishing the Good Guys: An Update

About a month ago, we reported on the travails of Bill and Mary, two hard-working folks who played by the rules and, as a result of circumstances beyond their control, were punished for doing so. Specifically, Mary is not eligible to take a dip in the Ohio ObamaPool© because she was recently insured. She was left with few options, none of them particularly appealing.

Recently, Bill learned about an "exciting new insurance" product that promised to cover Mary's health woes. But he had to act quickly (within 24 hours!) because "open enrollment" for this plan ended the next day ("the 17th!").

First, no legitimate insurance carrier ends "open enrollment" on anything other than the end of a given month. Second, any kind of "deal" is going to be a deal the day after tomorrow, too, else it's not really "a deal" at all. My colleague knew this when Bill came to him for advice, and was promptly referred back to me to confirm that this wasn't what it appeared to be. I'll give Bill credit: he did call me, and listened as I explained all the tell-tale signs of a rip-off.

And, of course, our words fell on deaf ears.

And why shouldn't they have? What, after all, did we offer as an alternative? What safety nets existed to help Mary? As my colleague mused, "of course he was grasping at straws, we can't give him a drink."

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