Health insurance woes – Health Alliance, retired teachers, State of Illinois

Preface: Health Alliance sucks so much that when I go to their website, they tell me I have to bow to the Microsoft Corporation, and get Internet Explorer, because their shitty website only works with IE. (They obviously have also cut corners when hiring web designers – that old “This website optimized for Explorer” crap went out with embedded midi files, in about 1998.)

My mother is visiting for Mother’s Day and had a small medical issue, but one that required immediate attention.

She doesn’t get Medicare (or Social Security) because she’s a retired Illinois teacher. They have Health Alliance, which is a real crapola of an insurance company. They’ve been pissing me off since my mother retired from teaching. Now that I have my “Corporation Misery” page, I’ll just add them to the list of corporations that suck.

Basically, anytime that she’s needed health care and she has been out of town, she has had to pay out of pocket for it. Health Alliance refuses to pay. In fact, since my mom has retired, I think the only thing they’ve paid for is a few mammograms, a colonoscopy or two and one breast biopsy. (Benign, and my mom would KILL me for talking about this online. Forgive me.)

Fortunately, my mom could afford to pay all this other stuff out of pocket, but many retired teachers just can’t. And people wonder why nobody goes into teaching? Hello, are you stupid? I remember someone suggesting I go to college to be a teacher, and I said “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. The way Illinois treats its teachers? Why pay for a college education and be treated like shit?” (And this was before I actually TAUGHT at a university and found out what a hard job it is!) But how the state of Illinois (and probably other states, I have no idea) treats teachers is another bitchfest, another time.

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR PEOPLE. This is why sensible people send their kids to private school. And it’s gotten so much worse since the days my mom gave her life to teaching (because she loved it, not for the big bucks and accolades).

I won’t go into all of the times Mom has had to pay for things out of pocket because she was out of town. But in short, unless she’s in her hometown and goes to someone on the “list,” (which also requires an hour drive, one way, two hours round trip), she’s screwed.

I could understand if it’s for routine things like physicals or the annual mammogram. But emergencies?

A few years back, when I still lived in Illinois, a St. Louis suburb, she was visiting. Things happened, and we thought she was having a stroke. Long, sordid story short, she had been poisoned. (Not deliberately)

The insurance company denied the ER visit, her week-long hospital stay, the many CT scans and other tests, plus her followup visits to the neurologist. Because she wasn’t “in network.”

And it’s happened again and again and again.

Basically, Mom, you may not get sick or fall down the stairs unless you’re at home. Capice? And then, be sure and drag your body with the broken legs to the car, and drive an hour to get to the correct “on list” doctor.

Now I realize that in this era of real insurance horror stories, where people can’t afford insurance because they’ve got house payments, private schools (smart), SUV payments, Lexus payments and so on, that a retired school teacher’s woes with Health Alliance isn’t going to get much sympathy. I get it.

Never mind that she taught your kids to sing, taught them to play piano, gave them love of music, and was one of the most favorite teachers in that part of stinky Illinois. Screw her, right?

It’s more important to whine that you can’t afford insurance premiums because all your “extra” money goes to clothes. Not clothes that are necessary, but lots of cute outfits, because you’ve got a lot of dates. The kids can do without insurance. They don’t get sick, right?

And then let’s be sure and whine that it’s another perk the taxpayers ought to be handling, not people who just can’t squeeze out an insurance payment due to NOT living within their means.

Mom’s lucky. She can afford to bite the bullet and pay for all this bullshit herself. But she pays out the ass every month for premiums, and then they won’t cover anything unless she’s lucky enough to get sick at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting the government get involved and DO SOMETHING. (Do something disease, coined by Michael Medved.) The state government has already done something, and it’s the biggest load of steaming crap I’ve seen since I last spent a day at the ranch.

This, dear readers, is what happens when the government gets involved.

They turn it into the biggest mess you’ve ever seen, where a teacher who gave her life the state gets a big fuck you when she needs coverage. Again, and again.

I don’t know if other states treat their teachers like this or not. All I know is that this is how it goes down in Illinois. Politicians in my home state are just too damn busy playing presidential politics (where’s a Durbin screeching when you need him? you’d think HE would give a damn about teachers, but guess only if they’re wearing a keffiyeh) to care about the teachers.

The governor is too busy trying to keep himself out of prison, or sending “thinking of you” cards to the governor that IS in prison.

I probably shouldn’t blog when I’m this steamed, but every time this happens, I hear the words Health Alliance and just want to scream.


Health Alliance sucks. Word of mouth, part of the free market.