It’s rare when a company advertises what its products don’t do. Except if you are Blue Cross.
Saw another newspaper ad by Blue Cross yesterday trying to place some doubt onto health reform. Oddly, the pitch was the insurer wanted to “continue to provide consumers more choice and flexibility, and keep premiums affordable–for example offering plans without maternity coverage for seniors and plans that cover only generic drugs.”
Let’s look past the false statement that places their “premiums among the lowest in the country.” California actually ranks in the middle of the states in terms of health care costs.
Some of their products may have a lower premium that others, but are we comparing similar products? Is it really a more “affordable” product if it doesn’t cover as much, and sticks you with the bill later? So if your next ailment requires a new drug, rather than one where a generic is available, that plan would be immediately unaffordable.
More importantly, by charging some people less, it means that others get charged much more. Blue Cross, who wants to charge women of child-bearing age more than the rest of us, might want to think they get off easy. My wife, who endured a 48-hour labor, might disagree. (The fact that they chose to illustrate this ad with a young mother, father, and baby is even more galling.)
Despite all the carping about the mandated benefits in California, Blue Cross says they specialize in “giving consumers more innovative coverage options than anywhere else in the country.” Choice isn’t a virtue if the choices are bad ones–and in this situation, for both for the individual consumer and the system as a whole.