I haven’t ranted in quite a while so I guess I’m overdue. My spleen cup overfloweth and thus I must vent. I signed up for health insurance through the online marketplace (yes, I mean Obamacare, but technically it’s called the ACA….but you can also call it Romneycare mainly because it tickles the shit out of me that it was a Republican idea to begin with and they have been calling it the “Eeek! Soshulizm!” plan). But I digress.
I signed up the first year it was available for myself and my son. For a year I paid our Healthnet insurance premium every month. I don’t qualify for a subsidy to help pay for it. In addition to the monthly premiums I paid full price for everything. This included my prescriptions that I HAVE to have and the medical care for when I totaled my car, which included an ambulance ride that cost more than the fucking ER bill and full price for the crutches that are gathering dust in a closet as we speak. Welcome to the Middle Class in America where you have enough to live in Suburbia and not receive any help from anyone ever but you’re always one disaster away from homelessness.
I got married in late October 2014 and the plan was for me to go on my husband’s health insurance and that I continue to buy my son’s plan through the Marketplace. My husband, though I love him dearly, has one massive flaw. He is a procrastinator of the worst kind. Since I also do this (but nowhere near to the same degree) it can cause problems. But I didn’t procrastinate this time. I bugged the ever livin bejeebers out of my husband to get the form, fill it out and take it in to work. Well, he didn’t get it done until late Nov or early Dec. AFTER the 30 day window. The 30 day window we knew nothing about. To say that I wanted to strangle him would be an understatement.
By December 2014 I said to myself, “Self, why am I paying Healthnet money?” Then I received a letter saying that the shitty plan I had was going away and that I would have to pay Healthnet even more money for a worse plan. The only other equivalent plan through the marketplace was also with Healthnet and it would cost $100 more per month AND they raised the annual individual deductible from $3,500 to $10,000. If I didn’t meet the deductible the year before with ALL my son’s and my out of pocket expenses, I estimated that I would have to get terminal cancer to meet the new deductible.
So I said “Self, let’s not do this any more”. I cancelled my health insurance and prayed that nothing would happen to me before my husband’s employer has open enrollment in the Fall of 2015 and I kept the Healthnet plan for my son. I called Healthnet up in December to set this all up. They made it VERY difficult to keep my son on his own plan. Apparently the concept of insuring a child without an adult on the plan is hard for their very tiny brains to process. They also made me wait until open enrollment for the Marketplace which was in January.
The communication between Healthnet and the Marketplace sucked balls. Neither side really knew where the other stood. They Marketplace kept telling Healthnet that I was on the plan even though I repeatedly corrected this with both parties. I had to use the 800 number to communicate with the Marketplace, which took many hours to accomplish, because it wouldn’t let me log in for over a month, so I couldn’t even review my plan’s set up or other choices online even if I wanted to. While I was doing this open enrollment thing I started getting letters from Healthnet that they were terminating our coverage for non-payment.
I called them up, explained to them again that I was not paying because I had cancelled my plan and I had been paying for my son who I was currently trying to enroll in a new plan. February came along and it seemed to get straightened out for my son but not for me. I was still getting letters that my plan had been cancelled from lack of payment. I gave up telling them that I had cancelled with them back in December. Clearly they had a problem and I had only so much energy for outrage. Nevertheless, my son was taken care of. He had the new plan–even received his card in the mail.
Then on March 1st, unbeknownst to me, they cancelled my son’s health insurance for lack of payment. Except I had paid for February and I had until March 31st to pay for March before they could legally cancel his plan. I didn’t even know anything was going on until they sent me an invoice in late March demanding payment. Why? If you’ve already cancelled it, why ask for money? Well, ultimately I’m glad that I got the notice and I immediately paid for March and April online. So, as of that point I was totally caught up.
Well Healthnet took my money and never updated my son’s eligibility. Apparently the Billing Department is in East Timbuktu and the troglodytes there only speak Swahili and the Eligibility Department is on the moon and the miscreants there only communicate via clicks and glottal stops. I was given further proof of their complete inability to internally communicate on even the most basic level a couple of days ago. I got another letter saying that my son’s coverage had been cancelled for lack of payment.
So I called them. Here is how the conversation went:
Me: “Why have you cancelled my son’s plan?”
Lady: “Oh we cancelled it on March 1st.”
Me: “Yes, I have a letter in my angry, clenched hands here that says exactly that. Why was it cancelled then when I had the entire month of March to pay and I had already paid for the month before?”
Lady: “I don’t know. I do see the payment for February”
Me: “Good. Do you see that I made a payment which covers March and April?”
Lady: “Yes, in the amount of $—-.”
Me: “So I’m paid up to date?”
Me: “So my four year old son is without healthcare coverage because ‘you don’t know’. Do you have any idea how frightening that feeling is for a mother? If something were to happen to him, you know and I know that the quality of the care that he receives is directly proportional to how much I and his healthcare plan, which he no longer has, can pay.”
Lady: “M’am, I don’t know why they cancelled it. Please hold.”
Me: [silently fuming]
Lady: “I’ve sent an urgent notice to the Eligibility Department to re-instate him today.”
Me: “Okay, thank you. Can you have them call me once it’s done.”
Lady: “They don’t call customers. They will mail you a letter.”
(Guess the clicks and glottal stops don’t translate well over the phone)
Me: “No, that would take too long and who knows what could happen in the meantime. I want to know right away. Can they email me?”
Lady: “Maybe, I will ask them to email you. But it will either be a letter in the mail or email.”
Then this was followed by my thank you’s and her have a nice days–all that polite bullshit we say but don’t mean in any way shape or form. Who knows what will happen now. I’m betting I’ll get another termination letter before the end of the month, even though the bill for May has yet to arrive. Fuckers.