Back in October 2018 — seems like eons ago — I urged ASQ to offer two key services in order to convert itself into a member-focused organization. As it stands now, ASQ is simply a publishing house that sells products to members, and then runs a multi-level marketing scheme to get those members to recruit more members who they can then sell products to.
I proposed that ASQ dump that failing strategy, and shift to one that would represent a true “membership society” that worked to benefit members, rather than treat them like marketing targets. The two services I urged ASQ to start with were free job placement services, and — wait for it — low-cost supplemental health insurance.
At that time I wrote the following:
Many ASQ members are employed, and struggle to obtain sufficient health coverage under their employers’ ever-dwindling plans. Other ASQ members are unemployed and have no insurance at all. ASQ could become their savior by offering low-cost supplemental health insurance, following the WGA model, and underwritten by a major provider. The insurance would not be expensive, but also wouldn’t be a Rolls Royce plan; it would be enough to offset some gaps in an employed member’s current health insurance, or enough to help an unemployed member in times of need. Using its member base as leverage, ASQ could obtain the necessary discounts, keeping costs low.
Now fast forward to March 2020, as the world is gripped in the coronavirus pandemic, and workers all over the United States are facing simultaneous loss of their jobs along with their health insurance. (Thanks to the US’ backwards system, health insurance is tied to employment.) So not only are people losing their jobs and paychecks, they are losing their medical coverage right in the middle of a deadly pandemic. This will result in the disease spreading more rapidly, as people avoid seeing doctors or reporting symptoms due to the costs they may face. As I write this, the US just had over 1,300 coronavirus deaths in a single day.
According to Time Magazine and the Kaiser Family Foundation, a US patient with few symptoms and a relatively easy recovery can expect medical bills of over $9,000, and a patient with more severe issues — assuming they don’t die outright — could face costs of up to $35,000.
When I proposed the suggestion to ASQ, they had the usual meltdown. They ignored my emails at first. Then, when I posted the suggestion on the MyASQ forum board, the moderators deleted the posts and banned me permanently from posting. I hadn’t violated any rules of the service, and no one at ASQ ever responded to my requests for a justification. They clearly felt this idea was potentially too popular, and something they were not going to allow to spread.
Then ASQ’s CEO was fired, their finances fell into distress, an open revolt by members erupted, and the entire operation was handed over to their lawyer, who is exhibiting all the leadership skills of a gimpy ferret in a hurricane. Rumors are swirling that ASQ’s attempt to create an offshoot organization may wind up being an attempt at criminal embezzlement (I’m looking into it, but nothing so far.) By all accounts, ASQ appears doomed.
Now let’s imagine what could have been. If ASQ had taken seriously my 2018 proposal, they would have had all of 2019 to take the necessary steps to find an insurance underwriter and make the appropriate arrangements for members. That means that ASQ members would have had supplemental health insurance right now, when they need it most.
But they don’t. Because some idiots at ASQ are dead-set on treating their members like products, and not people.