Yesterday’s attempt at an Op Ed for the Grey Lady ended with this now deleted paragraph about the seeming impossibility of getting my improperly terminated health insurance back during a raging plague. Observe the plangent notes of heroic self-pity:
So I am left to accept my punishment and practice mindfulness. I sit here lowering my blood pressure, and my heart rate, by thinking of the miracle of communication — how I can sit and convey these deeply fearful things to a stranger, merely by arranging the words properly on a page. I hope someone will remember I did this when they are lowering my body into a mass grave. My murdered ancestors would want no less for me.
Admittedly, useless — DELETE! — though I do still greatly appreciate the miracle of written communication, as far as it goes sometimes. Nothing like writing the situation out clearly when you are in great trouble or danger.
Today I wrote this concise complaint to the NYS Department of Financial Services, the NYS agency that regulates all insurance, financial houses, hedge funds, banks, etc. in New York State, My latest attempt to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut (though their on-line consumer complaint form immediately fixed a similar insurance termination without notice problem back in January):
I was informed Friday afternoon, when I called my insurer after being told by a doctor that my insurance came up “inactive,” that my Healthfirst health insurance, prepaid through June, had been cancelled, effective March 31 by the New York State of Health Marketplace. According to Healthfirst, no reason for this termination was given by NYSOH.
NYSOH, I was told, had sent Healthfirst notice of their intent to terminate my ACA insurance on March 11. Neither Healthfirst nor NYSOH provided me any notice of this termination, not prior to the effective date nor since.
I am instructed to call NYSOH, an overwhelmed and unresponsive agency on a good day, where one hears this recording:
New York State of Health is experiencing high call volume. Because of the public health emergency we are extending the due date for people who are expected to renew before April 15. You will receive another notice of the new due date before any changes will be made to your coverage. You do not need to take any action at this time.
Also, because of a new federal law, no person who currently has Medicaid coverage will lose their coverage during this emergency. If you are enrolled in Medicaid and get a notice from New York State of Health telling you that your coverage will end after March 18, 2020, you can disregard this notice. You will have no gap in coverage. If you have Medicaid you do not need to report any changes to your account except a permanent address change.
I have to assume that termination of prepaid health insurance without notice violates some NYS law, administrative rule or something, in addition to the due process protection of the US Constitution and the PPACA. One searches for New York’s legal answer to this question in Titles 10 (Health) and 11 (Insurance) of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations in vain, there is no chapter on point.
(I was wisely advised to follow my hunch and delete this line: I am still waiting (since early February) to hear back from your office for a citation to the text of the controlling law.)
Can you help me get my improperly terminated insurance back during this worldwide plague? I’d be eternally grateful.
Alternatively, can you direct me to the nearest rolling donut?