If Merriam-Webster had anything to do with it, the concept of a deductible would be simple — the “amount of money that you have to pay for something (such as having your car fixed after an accident) before an insurance company pays for the remainder of the cost”.

With Washington state health insurers though, it turns out things are a lot more complicated. This past year, while making a difficult recovery from knee surgery, I’ve been encountering these complexities. There are actually five ways that Washington State health insurance companies define deductible down in order to minimize coverage: multiple deductible pools, visit limits, copays, coinsurance and allowable amounts and procedures.

When I said to Rep. Eileen Cody, Chair of the Healthcare and Wellness Committee in the Washington State Legislature that it seemed that the system was rigged to favor the insurance companies, she said, “I won’t argue with that.”

I describe how the system works over at Crosscut today

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Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Check out Portland Wild, a visual map-driven guide to Portland's public art, its Heritage Trees and its Little Free Libraries.

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