Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I haven’t posted in a VERY long time.   A combination of struggling with my ongoing depression (Herr Hair became President, need I say more?) and having moved into a house that needs renovation.  Without regaling you in the detailed horrors of renovation (Maybe I’ll do that later with bonus photos) suffice it to say that I lived with three kids in a house without a kitchen for two and a half months.  If I ever have to look at another delivery pizza, I think I just might vomit.

Anyway, like I said, I’ll share details of my recent drama later.  For now, I just wanted to share a link to a heartfelt and touching story of someone who was the victim of a hate crime.

So I’m here, sort of.  How about you?

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So the young lady who told me she would send my case to the Regional office lied.   I called the Marketplace up today and they informed me that no such thing exists.  They said that the coverage I bought in 2015 was Catastrophic and when I insisted it was a Bronze Plan, they said it must have changed at some point to a Catastrophic plan.  I did remember that Healthnet sent me some info about the plan changing but nowhere in that information did it tell me that the plan would no longer be ACA compliant or that it was being changed to a catastrophic plan.  Furthermore when Healthnet made the change they did not and are not required to tell the Marketplace of the change.  The Marketplace only finds out if a consumer calls them up and complains.  So unless you are a healthcare expert and can read the 100 or so pages of medical and legalese language and can figure out that your plan has changed in some way to make it non-ACA compliant there is no way to know.  In fact, my current plan, a Silver plan, could change at any moment and become non-compliant and I might not know about it.  Until, that is, I have to pay my taxes.

My only option now is to file an appeal with the Marketplace.  It will take them another 90 days to resolve that and the odds are not good that they’ll change their minds.  In the meantime I have to file my taxes without a 1095 and I will owe several thousand dollars as a result.   I need to have surgery for something (not life threatening but necessary).  I needed that refund to pay for it.  I have to wonder how many other tens of thousands of people got screwed like I did.  I wish to hell there was someone I could sue over this.  I wish Arizona had set up it’s own exchange because it would have been better run (but this is a state full of Freedumb and they don’t give a crap about anyone who isn’t rich and connected).  Better yet, I wish we had gone with single payer as country.  If wishes were fishes…

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything personal but I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  So instead of writing about myself, I’m going to point you to a really good blog post about something that I struggle with every day–depression.  Go to http://bitterempire.com/rain-roof-managing-depression-night/ and read it, seriously, it’s good.  My favorite paragraph is this:

What a demoralizing way to exist, you know? What a stupid life you’re stuck with when the first thing you have to do in the morning and the last thing you have to do at night is not die. And what a stupid life you’re stuck with when you have to concentrate wholly on yourself just to get off the floor and put one foot in front of the other. All the automatic motions have to be done in manual with this damn thing.

And for the last year I don’t know if I’m actually truly busy or have I just been stuck on manual. All I can seem to focus on is the next thing that’s right in front of me. It seems to work to keep the worst of my depression at bay. But it sure as hell doesn’t allow for much reflection, which is crucial to writing. Anyway, I’m off to do the very next thing in front of me, which would be doing some database queries. Can you feel my enthusiam through these magical web toobs?

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?”

Lady:  “Yes”

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.

Totally totaled?

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Health, Personal
Tags: ,

So here is my car sad and forlorn at the repair shop.

image

I think its totaled but I have to wait for the repair shop to add up the cost of repairs and tell my insurance company and then they will decide if its worth fixing. I don’t want the car back even if its completely repaired–I could never feel safe in it again. Cross your fingers they say it’s totaled.

And for the non-squeamish among you, I present my rainbow hued knee.

When it rains…

Posted: March 1, 2014 in Health, Personal
Tags:

Did you ever notice that bad things happen in multiples? Illness, financial troubles and now a car wreck.

The first thing to happen was that everyone in my house got sick and the flu crap that I had lasted more than 8 weeks. I also had started to have constant nausea and acid reflux so for two weeks I took Zantac like candy. I had only bought health insurance in January and no sooner than the check cleared I had to make all these claims. My plan has a deductible of $3,500 so I’m paying everything out of pocket until I reach that magic number. A couple of days ago I saw a primary care doctor and received several new prescriptions which cost a pretty penny but I felt good being able to take care of my health.

The second problem was that I have been struggling financially since I got divorced in the fall of 2010. One of the things I’ve been delinquent on is paying for a timeshare. Now if you know anything about timeshares you know that they’re impossible to get out of. The industry is known for its abuses and “we don’t give a crap about your sob story” attitude. In fact they were perfectly willing to let the debt sit on my credit forever and there’s nothing in the law that says they have to foreclose, so I would never be able to buy a house, a car, or get a decent loan. Some states are aware of this practice, like Florida, so they have passed laws that force the timeshare to foreclose within a reasonable amount of time. But AZ laws are very simple and completely protect the timeshare company, having no protections for the consumer. I ended up getting a loan but then they come back to me and say,’oh, BTW, you still owe 15 months of quarterly fees and late fees of over $1,000′. Well if they had told me that in the first place I would have included it in the loan but that opportunity had passed. So I now have to scrape together that money somehow. And the timing couldn’t be worse because I need to buy plane tickets for later this year to go to a family reunion. My mother and father will both have just turned 80 years old and all of us kids want us all to be together for a week. We have only all been together, all 7 kids and our spouses plus the grandkids, maybe two times over the last 20+ years. My father has only met my son once and my daughter twice. My mother has never seen my son and met my daughter maybe three times. So you can see just how important it is that we make this trip.

The third problem is that on my way home from work a couple of nights ago I was involved in a serious car accident. I was trying to make a left turn on a major road and hit/was hit by a truck coming through the intersection. I just didn’t see him. I’ve been over it in my head dozens of times and I can’t figure out how I didn’t see him. He was going somewhere between 40 and 50 mph but I was only going 5 or 10. Now if you remember your high school physics his forward momentum basically transferred all the force of his momentum into my vehicle which was practically sitting still compared to him. I remember every second of the collision–the impact, screech of tires, my scream, the smell of the air bag smoke, the immediate pain in my knee, the pressure of the seatbelt and the burn of the airbag, the spinning…all of it in vivid detail. But what happened just before that I have nary a clue. The car is destroyed but thank the universe and government regulations for the modern safety devices. The entire windshield was shattered but not a single piece of glass came out. The air bags kept me from eating the steering wheel. The seat belt kept my lower body from getting totally crushed by the dash that was shoved forward. I went to the ER and the worst of my injury is a swollen knee and a shallow puncture wound on the same knee. They x-rayed it and I have no broken bones. I was very lucky and I came home last night and was able to sleep in my own bed. I will be on crutches for a while and I’m in serious pain, but I will live.

I was at fault because when turning, the person turning has to yield. I got the ticket so I will pay through the nose for it. The ER bill is high so it looks like I will meet my deductible much quicker than I anticipated. My car is a goner and I owed twice as much as its actual value. I’m not quite sure how I can buy another car. I’m depressed and tired and thoroughly discouraged. That makes three bad things happening to me lately. I’ve had enough Universe, please cut me some slack and make the rain stop.

It’s that time of year again

Posted: January 30, 2014 in Family, Health, Personal
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It’s that time of year, at least in Arizona, where infectious pestilence (is that redundant?) flows freely through the populace, particularly those with small children. There’s nothing worse than having a sick, cranky, stir crazy toddler on your hands than being a sick, cranky, stir crazy adult with that same toddler. I’ve been down and out for the better part of a week with the Creeping Crud TM. But I’m alive and back in the saddle, sort of. My poor son had a double whammy…bacterial eye and ear infection along with the viral Creeping Crud TM. So it is taking him longer to recover than it is taking me. I still feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, but at least I can sit upright and type. After nursing him Sunday through yesterday (with the help of my so awesome BF) I turned him over to Dad and got a good night’s sleep at last. Now I just need a good night’s sleep for a week and I’ll be golden. Not going to happen though…not in this lifetime. C’est la vie! Back to the grind.