A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Very Long Weekend

Today marks two occasions — one happy, the other bittersweet. I turn 51 today. This day also marks the end of my gainful employment in the health insurance industry. I have been laid off, along with twenty of my co-workers.

This was my 20th year working in health insurance. I’ve seen many changes during that time period. HMOs were common, but preferred provider networks (PPOs) were just gaining momentum. Referrals from primary care physicians to specialists were the norm, and it wasn’t unusual for a plan to require pre-authorization on what appeared to be thousands of procedures. Now HMOs and PPOs exist side by side, referrals are still practiced, but authorizations don’t seem to be as widespread as years ago.

During this same time period I had made it my personal goal to inject as much common sense into the health insurance industry as I — a lowly processor and later auditor - could do. It may seem like a Don Quixotic quest at times, but there were a few battles won over the years. Overall, though, I don’t see much improvement in regards to the application of everyday common sense to the implementation of health care coverage during the last twenty years. In other words, the health insurance industry is winning...for now.

Emotionally, I’m torn between hiding in the darkness under the covers of my bed and a mood I will call “delusional optimism”. I can best describe this feeling by recalling the finale from the science fiction classic This Island Earth. At this point in the story, the alien Exeter is returning his captive Earth people to their home. One of the humans invites Exeter to come back with them, but the alien refuses. He ruminates on the idea that he is free now to explore the vastness of the universe. At this point, the human party pooper points out that Exeter's ship doesn’t have enough fuel for such a journey. Sure enough, moments after the earthlings escape, Exeter’s space craft crashes into the Pacific Ocean.

Okay, obviously that was a poor example for me on which to draw to illustrate my delusional optimism. So, like Exeter, I’m more delusional than hopeful at this point, but that doesn’t make me dangerous...necessarily.

Still the idea of exploring the vastness of economic opportunity elsewhere sounds at once intriguing and frightening.

I have several ideas to get me through. I may temp for awhile and complete a few business classes at the local community college in the meantime. I now have the time during my impending very long weekend to set myself up as an independent contractor and seek out contacts in the voiceover industry.

I may even return to the health insurance industry given my many years of experience. It would be a shame to let that experience fade away, but it would be equally shameful to allow this opportunity to pass without my attempt at doing something else in my life. Part of me wants to continue doing what I know and yet another part of me wants to walk out of the health insurance industry today...and never return.

(Thank you for reading. Please remember, whether I’m rich or poor, working or idle, this blog will continue.)


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