Posts Tagged ‘Health Care’

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…

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.

UPDATE:  Regarding the e-mail incident between a U of Berkeley student and Sachi Landscaping–the guy is completely denying it was him but hasn’t provided one iota of proof that it wasn’t (details here).  And Mr. Zeiser contacted me via Twitter and said

Nice little passive aggressive compliment along with an insult.  But whatevs….I have not yet responded but my inclination is no. My thinking is that the kind of tripe he is pushing is already being blasted at the populace by really large media outlets like Fox, The Heritage Foundation, the American Spectator (for whom he has written in the past), the Daily Caller and dozens of other venues. Why should I let him use my little blog to broadcast his viewpoint when the entire Twitter conversation is all one really needs to know.  So I suggest you all read the entire Twitter conversation and make up your own mind.

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So, earlier today I was watching my Twitter scroll with one eye while trying to program in C# with the other and a couple of things jumped out at me.  The first was a Storify* from @AngryBlackLady (one of my favorite writers, commentators and all around smart people online) about a conversation between her and a conservative supposed PhD  who insisted on debating her about Obamacare regardless of whether she wanted to or not.

From @ABL’s Twitter Feed

If you don’t want to read the long exchange (you really should just for the giggles, the image above is a summary of his worst statements) it boils down to her getting angry at him for pestering her for days and telling him to leave her alone.  So he resorts to using some misogynist and racist terms to refer to her and finally he refuses to acknowledge the ugliness behind what he said or apologize for it.  At the end, of course, he claims to be the victim of the whole thing. It will make you feel all fuzzy inside–not.

Not long after reading that I saw a Tweet by @LaloAlcaraz, a man of many talents (you might have seen his comics in your local newspaper if you live in the Southwestern U.S.).  He shared an email exchange between a University of Berkeley student and the owner of a local business.  The student is a member of CASA (Chicano Architecture Student Association) and asked very respectfully if her organization could get a tour of his business.  His response?

You can see Lalo’s photo of the full email exchange and the explanation here.    Not only is the business owner’s response ugly he also claims to be victimized by the request for the tour.

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing a rash of white males (just one example) running around crying about being victims to us “delicate flowers” and/or “savages” and/or “illegals”.  The irony is that anybody with a brain can see that white males, particularly older ones, still run this country and pretty much the entire fucking world.  This is serious “crazy making” behavior . It’s like women and minorities are in an abusive relationship with the rest of U.S. society.  They keep kicking us and then telling us that it’s our fault and we made them do it.  And then we when we legitimately confront them over it, they tell us that we’re the racist/bigots trying to stir up ill feelings that disappeared the moment the Black Marxist Muslim Usurper was elected in 2008.  And us wimmin folk, once we got the right to vote back in 1920 it’s been easy pickings since then, amiright my fellow delicate blossoms?   It’s all unicorns shitting one hundred dollar bills, rainbows and cotton candy, dontcha know!  Except, of course, for that painful black eye and those sore ribs we keep getting.

But there might be some hope.   Take for instance the revenge that has been enacted against ABL’s harasser.  If one were to Google his name (I highly recommend it, click this link and it will do it for you automatically) you will find a link to the Storify item I mentioned earlier about 4 or 5 results down.   The more people click on it, the more this will rise in Google search results whenever anyone searches for Mr. Zeiser.   And in so doing, it will air his statements about how much fun it is to “collect scalps”, how he called people of color and anyone who disagrees with him “savages”, and other various lovely things.  Note this isn’t harassment or libel or slander**.  He really did write these things and by doing this on Google we can ensure that even if he tries to deny it, the proof is easy to find.  As a side benefit whenever someone looks him up to find out more about him, one of the first things they will learn is that nature of his character is less than desirable.  Also do not Tweet about this conversation and mention ABL’s Twitter nom de plume. She’s over it and I don’t blame her–keep her out of the discussion unless she chooses to rejoin it on her own.

The other little bit of good news is that the Berkeley student has approached her College’s faculty in hopes that they will address the matter but many people have seen this exchange online now and I’m hoping it will descend squarely on this guy’s head so that he loses his license to practice.  However, the student has asked people online not to interact with the company directly so DO NOT contact the business owner or the company.  Nevertheless, if you live in Southern California (and I know a few people that do) keep this guy and his business in mind because if he or his company tries to get your business (or anyone you know) you can tell him to “piss off”.  If he wants to know why tell him it’s the “Free Market” coming back to bite him in the ass.

The ugliness of these kinds of exchanges is why I have to take a break from the Internet on occasion.  Then again, people like ABL and Lalo pull me back in because they are never afraid to point it out, call it what it is, and they don’t let it make them crazy.  I don’t have their coping mechanisms yet but I’m getting there.

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*For those who don’t know, Storify is a way to document a series of Tweets over a long period of time.  It puts them in the proper time order which can be very hard to do on your own without such an app.

**I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.  However, libel/slander is propagating something you know is untrue.  And it don’t get any more real than that there Twitter exchange.

The link to the Spanish version of this post

Some quickies for you:

  • Dinesh D’Souza, asshat extraordinaire, is a big whiny child.  Those evil prosecutors are doing their job and trying to put him in prison.  How dare they?!  He’ll get probation and we’ll probably still have to see his idiocy on Bill Maher.
  • Conservatives are freaking out because the President saluted with a coffee cup in his hand.  I would rather have a latte in the middle of my salute than a Scottish Terrier.  And never mind about the real problems this country has because the paranoid, desperate, white, male base eats up this shit up.
  • Can I just say how much I admire Gabby Giffords?  She is absolutely amazing to have come back from that horrible tragedy in Tucson AND launch a PAC to fight against NRA extremism.  What’s even better?  It’s working.
  • If I hear one more liberal complain that the President isn’t liberal enough, is ineffectual and that Congress sucks, I’m going to go nuclear and remind them that it’s probably because they didn’t vote in the f*%!ing 2010 mid-terms.  Here’s just one very good example of how that has hurt and will continue to hurt us for years to come.
  • How effed up is that Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, gave a speech to the U.N. on feminism and as a result was threatened with sexual violence and having nude photos of her posted online. This kind of terrorizing online is getting worse, not better.  I don’t know the solution but I really feel for any woman who is harrassed and terrorized because she speaks her mind on the Intertoobs.
  • Love the fact that big tech companies are divesting themselves of ALEC.  If you don’t know who they are, they’re what’s wrong with America.  A group of corporate representatives and conservatives who draft “model” legislation that they then push using vast resources in multiple states.  Their laws which include gems like SB1070, Stand your Ground,  Voter ID, and many more are nightmares and they’re making headway in many state legislatures because people aren’t paying attention to what’s happening on the state level. They’re too busy hating the President (see “Coffeegate” above and Congress (lowest approval ratings ever) on the national level and worrying about things that aren’t immediate threats (Ebola, Isis, etc).
  • And speaking of ISIS, don’t you just love that we’ve gone to war and there was absolutely no debate in Congress?!  They’d rather have yet another vote on appealing Obamacare.  Never mind that the rising cost of healthcare has actually slowed down as a direct result of the law, which was one of the main points of it in the first damn place.  Who needs facts….right?

I’d better stop while I’m ahead.  Methinks I’m getting my mojo for political blogging back and it’s about damn time!

The following news stories actually make me not only wonder if our species will survive for much longer but also if we deserve to survive our own stupidity and neglect.

  • The City of Detroit found 11,000 rape kits that were abandoned and never tested.  After testing less than 7% of them they identified 100 serial rapists and 10 convicted rapists.  So if that pattern holds and they test the rest of them, they can expect to discover several hundred more of these scumbag.  ht mistermix at Balloon Juice
  • The AZ legislature is pushing a bill that would allow people to carry guns into building even if it’s forbidden (if they don’t have lockers available you can ignore the ban).  They’ve also advanced the idea that some gun owners can carry even if there are lockers and ban.  And to make it truly impossible for local governments to forbid guns in their government buildings, they’ve approved and forwarded a bill that says any local government who enforces local ordinance over state law can be fined.  This is like the trifecta of stupid.  They’re begging for someone to go into government buildings and commit mass murder.  I certainly will be avoiding those buildings like the plague if this crap passes.  ht JM Ashby at Bob Cesca
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, back when he was a prosecutor, let a child slaver off easy so that he could take down a political rival.
  • Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, told a woman that having cancer was her own fault for not forgiving her abusive father.  Okaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy
  • A new law went into effect in Michigan that says businesses and individuals who purchase private insurance must take out a separate rider to cover abortion care.  Essentially, if a woman needs an abortion for ANY reason and if she doesn’t have  a separate rider for it, she will have to pay out of pocket for the cost of that care.  So if I lived there, had a miscarriage and needed a D&C to shorten the process  and suffering so I could get back on my feet sooner, I would have to pay completely out of pocket for it.  Likewise for women who have become pregnant as a result of incest and rape.  That’s insane.  The real kicker is that there is not a single private insurance provider in the marketplace that provides this insurance.  This could not only bankrupt women and their families, it in effect nullifies Roe v. Wade, and will force women to seek out cheaper and more dangerous care for such things.  I hope the women in Michigan enjoy being second class citizens because it looks like the state is on target to vote the same politicians who’ve created these laws back into office.
  • Billionaires in the 1% are getting their panties in a twist and crying lots of salty tears because the rest of us are tired of having the economy manipulated while they gamble with our money and take what little wealth Americans have managed to accumulate over the last few decades.  The 99% have had the temerity to exercise their Freedom of Speech and the Right to Vote in more progressive candidates.  However, so far as I know there have been no lynch mobs or guillotine lines nor any proposed by anyone of significance in any “likely to happen” fashion.  The 99% are simply using the peaceful system of governance and the wonderful mechanisms given to us by the Founding Fathers.  However, reading some of the recent comments by the 1% (here’s a few examples here and here) might make one think that we are in the midst of a communist peasant uprising (or fascist style takeover depending on which historical example they erroneously choose).  Truth is, if we were in such a state, their heads would already be on pikes.  In reality nothing is happening to them and that’s the stupid thing.  We should be curtailing their almost godlike power over our economy and our elected officials. Their message gets broadcast loud and clear.  We hear about their perspective 24/7 on Fox News, read their whining on major websites and news sources (in addition to reading about their phenomenally ignorant take on history), and suffer under the vagaries of the worldwide economy which they essentially control.  As Jon Stewart said the other day, they make money regardless of how the economy fares.  So why should they give a crap about us? They don’t and the majority of Americans haven’t yet grasped this fact and what it will mean for this country, and indeed the world, in the long run.  Until Americans decide to stand up and pull up our pants, they’ll be back there having their way with us and complaining that its hard, nay dangerous, to be a billionaire.

“To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.”
― Jeanette Winterson

A news report out of Mississippi indicates that they’ve discovered a mass grave with thousands of bodies when trying to build a new parking garage.  That’s how we treated the mentally ill not that long ago.  We’ve stopped warehousing them and ignoring them until they died alone and end up in unmarked graves.  I mean, we still ignore them, just right under our noses.  Until, of course, we can’t ignore them any more.  When their illness explodes into our public awareness through horrendous tragedy.  Now we either keep them at home until they totally lose it hurting innocents and others (see Loughner, Lanza, Holmes, etc, etc, etc) or keep them in “the system” in a round robin of jail/prison, streets and shelters, back to jail, etc, etc, etc.  We can do better.  We should do better.

One of the most nightmarish books I ever read was Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale”.  Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing incremental steps toward that nightmare in reality occurring across this country in recent years.  Well, Michigan just took a leap toward such a dystopia by proposing to ban abortion coverage in private health insurance plans and forcing women to purchase a separate rider.  And it has a good chance of becoming law.  It has become law.

I’m so flabbergasted that I’m speechless.