Cover Me

Kathern Cathey thought she had an insurance policy that would save her life. Not exactly.

It's stated much more clearly than it was by The Man With No Name in the Cinergy infomercial, but still, the infomercial met all regulatory disclosure requirements. Although Cinergy has been cited for a violation for misleading consumers in the past, this infomercial, and this product, are legally aboveboard. Although, despite what the infomercial implied about a major policy costing twice as much as limited coverage, a simple quote search on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas Web site indicates that Cathey might be eligible for a policy that would pay 80 percent of hospital fees — for $55 a month more than the $241 she's paying with Cinergy.

Or at least she was eligible. With a cancer diagnosis, major coverage for under $300 a month is pure fantasy.

Bottom line is this: Cinergy did its job as required by law. (As Torossian explained in an e-mail, "Our plans are designed to provide practical coverage for people on a limited budget — not to provide catastrophic coverage. Cinergy takes measure in the sales process, as well as in membership materials to ensure members understand the limitations of the plan.")

Cinergy's "member services" number doesn't appear to provide good service for its members.
Daniel Kramer
Cinergy's "member services" number doesn't appear to provide good service for its members.
While she waits to hear if she'll get the surgery she needs, Kathern Cathey relies on painkillers to make it through.
Daniel Kramer
While she waits to hear if she'll get the surgery she needs, Kathern Cathey relies on painkillers to make it through.

So that means the only thing killing Kathern Cathey — besides the cancer — is her inability to read the fine print.

craig.malisow@houstonpress.com

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