Laying In The Gutter? It's My Fault!

Thursday, December 3, 2009
“It’s the insurance company’s fault that there are drug addicts walking the street.”

I did not know that. I needed the twenty year old junkie to explain this to me. After alienating her parents and step-parents, dropping off their coverage even though she is a full-time student, and suddenly getting married, she was surprised that insurance companies weren’t standing in line to welcome her in their warm embrace.

Of course, she was in my office for over a half an hour before she finally told me the truth. Thirty one years in this business has to be worth something. I could tell, I could feel that there was more than what she was disclosing. Bit by bit she released more information to me. It wasn’t until I had begun a pre-screen application that she dropped the bomb, her fourth on-going medication was an opiate blocker that costs $900 per month!

Forget everything but the math for a second. She wants to be allowed to pay $100 per month to Anthem Blue Cross so that the insurer can buy her $900 drug and three other medications. Shockingly, Anthem, Medical Mutual, et al… said “No Thanks”.

It was at this time that she informed me that her addiction is “genetic, like cancer”. Her mother is an alcoholic, so it is natural for her to have been hooked on heroin and methadone. “It is a disease. That’s what you learn at Alcoholic’s Anonymous.”

She spent an hour and a half in my office alternatively complaining about her parents who don’t want to have anything to do with her and the insurers who don’t want to have anything to do with her. She has options. Unwilling or unable to make the calls, I grabbed my phone and contacted her previous insurer, her mother’s employer, and went online to research the local university's student policy. She can be covered, but it will take some time and effort on her part.

She will not be covered.

Which part is more frustrating, the self destructiveness of the drug addiction of a teenager or the delusion that someone else is to blame for one’s behavior; the refusal to take the necessary steps to solve one’s problems or the anger that there are lifelong consequences for one’s actions? She sat there whimpering while I tried to solve her most immediate problems.

Will any of the proposed changes in Washington solve her problems? NO! Even if we have a policy that would take everyone and provide any known pharmaceutical remedy, there is no guarantee that she would even sign up. More importantly, Congress is incapable of passing a law that would force Americans to take responsibility for their actions.


By the way, Jeff Bogart,my business partner, and Michael Saltzman, my attorney, went ballistic when they read the original post of this blog. So I have made a couple of key changes to completely hide the identity of the man/woman subject of this story. I guess you can't be too careful.