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Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Seamstress Peggy McPhee has worked at a Santa Rosa bridal shop for 20 years. She has a good relationship with her boss, but the owner, like many small business people, simply can't afford to pay for Peggy's health insurance. So Peggy, 51, has fended for herself. Until now, she has always gotten by. It was easier back in the early 1980s when her...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Alex Rose is exasperated by the continuing rise in health care costs, increases that threaten to take away his health insurance. But Alex also is disgusted by the larger picture: a United States health care system that is inefficient, uncaring and so confusing to health care consumers that they figure out how to navigate it only with great...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Jo Christie has been with Kaiser for 35 years, but longevity, she has discovered, does not breed loyalty from the Kaiser executives who have been taking her money for decades. They have inched her rates up over the past several years until this year she has finally decided she may not be able to afford it anymore. Her premiums shot up to $490 a...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Jonas Weisel seems like an honest enough guy, but lately he's been having trouble getting people to take him seriously. "When I tell them about this, almost nobody believes me," Weisel says. This is his latest notice from Kaiser, which came in the mail in early December. The health care insurer raised his rates from $564 to $955 - a jump...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Last month, Kathryn Thuma read about a man who felt Kaiser Permanente had put a lump of coal in his stocking over the Christmas holidays by imposing a huge increase in his premium. Kathryn looked at her own December Kaiser bill and thought about the metaphor. Then she decided that it wouldn't work for her. "Kaiser didn't send me a lump of...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
The episode that changed Dana Morrison's life lasted only moments and began with her doing what this dedicated nurse always has done: looking out for her patient. But it ended with Dana enduring tremendous pain, being knocked out of the work force, and then facing the slings and arrows of a workers' comp system that never was all that kind to...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Compared to some other Kaiser subscribers, the premium increase facing Sharon Fowler Jan. 1 is modest - "only" 10 percent, from $515 to $565 for Sharon and her husband, Barry, who both are self-employed in San Diego. Many Kaiser patients have seen fees jump by 40, 50, even, in some cases, 70 percent. But the fact that her boost barely...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Dorothy Miller was not happy when she was downsized in 2000, but at least, she figured, her health care was taken care of in her retirement years. The company she had worked for, Industrial Indemnity Comopany, had arranged coverage for veteran employees before it was taken over by Fremont General. Dorothy figured wrong, as she was to find out...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Gail Saivar is feeling a little sheepish these days about the answer she gave to a local newspaper doing a feel-good Thanksgiving story last month. Asked what she is thankful for, Gail, not exactly gushing but nevertheless feeling a holiday glow, said "Kaiser Permanente." Two days later, Gail received her Kaiser notice for coverage in...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
For Susan Walker of Granada Hills, health care coverage is not something abstract, an optional expense that she can take or leave. For Susan it is, literally, a matter of life and death. She has had bad luck medically, with heart problems, cancer and other ailments. She has had seven surgeries. So when she opened her mail in early December and saw...