Posts filed under ‘health’
The American health care system is made to screw people. No insurance company wants to actually pay for things, so they make it as impossible as they can to get any coverage. It’s compounded if you have the cheap insurance that forces you to go to low-rent medical care places.
I’ve had the nice, swanky insurance before. You don’t have to constantly be jumping through hoops in order to get things done. On the other side, the customer service is way better, probably because they have more money to hire more people and properly train them so they are not overworked and cranky all the time. Thus, you can get conflicts and questions resolved in a more timely manner than with the crappy insurance.
So now I have new insurance. It costs way more than the old insurance, yet also the co-pays are more. For a doctor’s office visit I have to pay a co-pay of $25 now instead of $14, like the last place. Also, medication is $25 instead of $12 for the one drug I was on and $14 for the other one. So, now I have to pay $50 just for the privilege of getting refills on my prescriptions every month (the ghetto clinic requires one to see a therapist in order to see a person who can prescribe you drugs, so I have to go to twice the appointments than I would if I went to a place that just hired psychiatrists that could provide both services, but these places are impossible to get appointments at). And the drugs themselves are now $50 per month instead of the old $26. Oh yeah, the prescriptions are administered by yet another company, so I have to call them and have a separate insurance card (which of course I haven’t gotten yet) just to get drugs.
The latest exciting hurdle in all this is now I need a “prior authorization” form for one of the drugs I’ve been taking for at least one year. This means I have to bring some form to the doctor’s office and have them contact the insurance company to let them know it’s OK for me to be on this drug (that I’ve been taking for over a year). Obviously I have all the time in the world to go running around to different offices to get forms to make sure I’m not trying to game the system! This will take 3-5 business days to go through. What the hell, my prescription already ran out 6 weeks ago, what’s another week of waiting?
I also need a “prior authorization” for birth control, apparently because god forbid anyone try to not get pregnant without as many hurdles as possible. Ironically, this insurance also doesn’t cover abortions, so I think they WANT me to get pregnant. That doesn’t make any sense since then they’d have to cover prenatal exams and hospitals for delivery and all that good stuff. What am I saying? They probably don’t cover any of these things anyway. Plus, there’s a $2000 deductible, so I’m not about to seek medical care for anything anyway. I have almost $2000 in my savings account, and it’s taken me years to amass this much money! I think of it as my Travel Budget and that I’m going to use it to go someplace cool for a vacation, but I know I will just end up blowing it all on rent when I’m unemployed in September. Since it will only cover like 2.5 months of rent, I don’t want to think about it.
So basically, the American Health Care system AND my life are both total bullshit.
Republicans don’t think that we should have state health care because why should poor people be healthy? Fuck ’em, they’re obviously poor because they’re lazy. However, how will the rich maintain their lifestyles if all the poor people die because of bad health? Who will clean their pools? Who will fix their cars, work in their factories, buy their products and consume their mass media? Rich people, admit it– you need the great unwashed classes in order to stay on top. You need someone to exploit– why keep them sick and miserable? Is it because the blood of the working class is an expendable, highly renewable resource? Maybe THAT’S why they’re so against birth control and abortion– they need to be sure there will always be a disposable impoverished class whose backs they can stand on!
My 3-month odyssey of acquiring health insurance reached a pinnacle of stupidity today. AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!! Warning: this is boring. I’m just writing it down to clear my head.
TIMELINE OF IRRITATION:
December 2012: Four Seasons Greenery, the plant company I work for, is sold to New England Foliage. My hours, wage, accounts, everything remain exactly the same.
January 2013: New England Foliage changes the payroll over to a 2-week pay cycle instead of the 1-week cycle Four Seasons had. They forget to pay me every other week for 4 weeks.
February 2013: Commonwealth Care sends me a notice that I need to submit a form verifying my change of employment (apparently because the company changed hands it’s considered a change of jobs). However, I DON’T GET THIS MAIL BECAUSE MY ROOMMATES ARE LAZY SLOBS WHO THROW ALL THE MAIL ON THE TABLE AND THEN GETS BURIED AND SHOVELED ELSEWHERE
March 2013: I get a notice that my insurance is about to be cancelled. Of course I don’t get this either, see reason above.
April 2013: I go to renew a prescription and am informed by the pharmacy that my insurance is cancelled. I call the company and find out what’s happened. I call Commonwealth Care and they tell me I need to send in a new form which includes pay stubs.
April 2013: New England Foliage figures out they forgot to pay me for 4 weeks and sends me a paycheck making up for the extra hours.
April 2013: all my medication runs out, with no refills, but I can’t even get a refill and pay the non-insurance price for them ($200 some odd) because they won’t let me see my doctor without first seeing the therapist and I can’t afford all these appointments out of pocket.
April 2013: Commonwealth care amazingly sends the form I need in the mail 2 days after I call! I fill it out and FAX (they need to be faxed, causing me to panic since I have no idea where a fax machine is, then I learn you can do this over the internet!) the required 2 pay stubs from each job. Nowhere does it say that you only send in *one* pay stub for a job that pays bi-weekly. I send two, including the one with the make-up hours.
May 2013: Commonwealth care counts the bi-weekly pay as weekly and determine I make too much money for insurance and am no longer eligible. I fax in a new pay stub and explain what’s going on. It apparently takes 56 business days to get this reviewed. In the mean time, I have Health Safety Net, which is only accepted in approved state-run clinics. The clinic closest to my house has a waiting list for new patients and even then you can only make appointments for 2 weeks in the future. Jack, my boss, says this is stupid and offers to pay the difference in what I paid for the state-subsidized insurance to the actual cost.
May 2013: I apply for NON-SUBSIDIZED health care, pay the premium and manage to fax the form I need from Commonwealth Care saying I am no longer eligible in on time! I SEND A CHECK WHICH GETS CASHED. Insurance is slated to begin June 1.
June 3, 2013: I call Commonwealth Choice (who the unsubsidized insurance goes through) to see what my member ID# is so I can make an appointment with the therapist so I can make an appointment with the doctor and get my meds refilled. They tell me everything is awesome on their end, but I have to call Fallon Health Care (the actual insurance company that is contracted by Commonwealth Choice) to get my number. I call Fallon and am not in their system. They tell me they will get my info to the enrollment office and have them give me a call.
Fallon calls me and tells me I am not eligible for Commonwealth Care (DUH I’ve known this since March) and can’t get Fallon Health care and so I should call Commonwealth Choice back.
Commonwealth Choice is closed by the time I get off the phone with them.
AAARRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!! I’ve been taking half-doses of meds since April and I only have 5 pills left. I am SO SICK OF THIS BULLSHIT.
AND, IT’S ALL MY FUCKING LAZY ASS ROOMMATES’ FAULT!
Yes, the same roommates who WIPE THEIR MUDDY FEET all over the bath rugs I JUST SCRUBBED CLEAN. When they told me TWICE they would stop doing that (I asked them to stop nicely, already). The same ones WHO SCOOP SUGAR OUT OF THE SUGAR BOWL WITH THE SUGAR SPOON, STIR THEIR COFFEE AND THEN PUT THE FUCKING SPOON BACK IN making the sugar all clumpy and gross and the spoon all crusty and smell WHEN I ALREADY ASKED THEM NOT TO AND THEY AGREED TO STOP.
I am so sick of being jerked around by health insurance companies and so sick of living with roommates. FUCK EVERYTHING!!!
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
The yearly “we’re going to cancel your health insurance for some random screw-up” waited until March this year! Usually they cancel it in January. For that I suppose I should be excited. However, getting the insurance re-instated is always fun, and requires lots of reinstatement fees and other exciting things. I don’t even remember what caused this year’s mess-up; I think they lost a payment or something, which is not unheard of, especially since I was only able to pay by sending checks through the mail. I wanted to sign up for their online payment service, but when I signed up, they didn’t send me the automated password. When I called to ask them to reset it, they said they couldn’t because I had never activated the password to begin with. When I asked if I could re-sign up, I couldn’t because I already had an account. I just couldn’t log into it. Thus it stayed for 3 years. At least with the latest kicking me out of the program I was able to get a new online account and can pay for things there!
Anyway, after a month and a half of them saying “oh all you have to do to re-sign up is this and wait 72 hours” and then 72 hours later have them say “oh wait, you have to do this other thing and wait 72 hours” and then a third and a fourth thing, I finally have insurance again… in May. My meds ran out a few days ago and I won’t be able to get more cheaply until May first, which is kind of bullshit since I paid for every single month this year so far. ::sigh::
I’m on anti-depressants, which you’re not supposed to go off cold turkey. The worst side effect of these meds is that I can’t poop when I go off them. Do you know how awesome it is to poop? Have you ever thought about how enjoyable and miraculous it is to be able to eliminate solid waste from your body? Probably not, because one never does until one is unable to do perform such a task. Anyway, I don’t care if I revert to being sad and suicidal. I don’t care if I burst into tears because of stupid things, like the printer jams or my shoelace unties and I trip and smack my head. I don’t care about my emotional health. Whatever. I JUST WANT TO DROP A DEUCE!
Last night I had a big dinner at the Ethiopian restaurant in Malden with JJ (aka Crane). As I drove home, I felt the meal shifting in my stomach. Nope, that food wasn’t going anywhere. I drove to the drugs store to see if miraculously something had happened and that the insurance company had meant my coverage was effective 4/1 and not 5/1. No such luck. Thus I forked over $35 for ONE WEEK of meds (it would be $140 for a full month, which is actually way better than the $350 it would have been had the generic brand not become available last week). Hopefully I can get this straightened out before those run out. I’m not holding my breath, though, since the number you’re supposed to call is a recording that directs you to another number, which is a recording that directs you back to the first number. Argh.
I got the results from last week’s physical back today. I apparently have high cholesterol and an underactive thyroid. Thus, my doctor wants me to lose 15 lbs in the next 6 months and cut down on animal products, fried things, and general bad food. All I can picture is deep fried cheese wrapped in bacon. I’ve actually lost 5 lbs in the past few weeks on the Stop Being Stupid (i.e., stop eating chocolate cake for breakfast) diet. However, that was on a whim, it didn’t have a goal in mind. Now that I have a goal, it sucks. For some reason, goals do the opposite of motivate me. Lots of people are goal-oriented, and they can’t achieve anything unless they have clear-cut goals. I, however, am so lame and process-oriented that as soon as a goal is introduced, I freak out from the pressure and try to find ways to get out of trying. I suppose because of Doctor’s Orders, I’ll have to get with it, though. Argh. No bacon? Really?
Sometimes I hate my body. Most often when a chick says such a thing, it means she thinks she’s too fat, or her boobs are too small/large whatever. I personally don’t care that much about that sort of stuff, especially this week. I hate my body because it is rebelling against me and seems to be doing whatever it can to make my normal slackerish self even less productive. I know this is mostly psycho-somatic and stuff, but it’s really annoying. I mean, I can’t freaking breathe in this apartment. Literally. It feels like there’s a fat cat sitting on my lungs and I can’t get any breath in or out. I keep hacking up this nasty tasting stuff that is clear, but tastes like a cross between seaweed and pickled herring. And not in a good way (I love seaweed and pickled herring, but not when it’s essence is being hacked from my respiratory system). I tried to neti pot out my nasal cavity which is an awesome thing, though it sounds gross if you’ve never done it (pour warm brackish water in one nostril up through your sinuses out the other), but I can’t get it to work since my nasal passages are way too clogged up (I tried for an hour doing all sorts of things to loosen up the snot to no avail). Plus today my stomach is hurting too. I can’t think of what I can eat to make it chill out because the thought of food is slightly nauseating right now.
I always saw humanity as being full of two kinds of people, those who see their brains as being there to tell them how to take care of their bodies (athletes, fitness enthusiasts, pretty much all the students on my trip to Ireland except moi) and nerds, who think that their body is there to be a kind of unreliable limo to chauffeur their brains around. I know that there is a happy medium, but I’ve always taken my good health for granted. I am generally a healthy person and always have been! It’s just that every now and then my 80 zillion petty little annoying largely unfixable problems (i.e., allergies, IBS, TMJ whatever) start ganging up on me and conspire to make me even less productive than my normally fairly lackadaisical self can be.
Basically, I need to finish packing up my stupid apartment so I can move today! I went over to the new place yesterday to paint and the lack of subterranean mold and suburban vegetation made it so I can breathe beautifully! However, back in North Cambridge I would like to get some boxes packed, but would settle for just being able to inhale some oxygen and exhale some CO2 without having to think about it.
I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS STUPID MOVE TO BE OVER!
Oh, and in other news, I actually went on a date the other day. The dude actually seems pretty cool! We seem to have similar opinions on many things that nerds hold dear. I’m waiting to discover that he’s actually a robot sent to infiltrate the planet and the date was actually him harvesting some of my less useful organs and then erasing my memory.
For the past several days I have been barfing with exciting episodes of digestive troubles that sway between diarrhea and constipation and sometimes both at once. “Impossible!” you say! No, it’s not. I’m not going to explain the mechanics of it right now in the interest of TMI, but suffice to day it’s extremely unpleasant. With all of this comes stomach aches and headaches.
What’s wrong with me?
I don’t have health insurance.
Argh. So because I don’t have insurance I have to get my drugs straight from the ghetto clinic again (this will only be possible for 28 days, then I’m screwed). Somehow along the line they got my prescription messed up and gave me a lower dose than I was taking. Because of this, I’m going through withdrawal, hence the digestive maladies– for some reason this drug wreaks havoc with my digestive system. Today was beautiful and sunny– a perfect biking day! I spent it inside because I felt too barfy to leave the house. I could call my doctor and have her call in another prescription, but I’m sure that would screw up my 28 day maximum. Plus, she’s doing a residency or whatever at the ghetto clinic and her time is pretty much up. It’s the time of year where I get a new shrink. I’ve had 5 or 6 so far. I should really get a stable, omnipresent, reliable shrink, but for some reason it’s impossible to find one in Boston who has spaces open for new patients. Besides, some of the insurance I’ve had in the past wasn’t taken by real reputable doctors.
I know this is all my fault. Had I paid better attention to the notice I got back in January I wouldn’t be in this situation. The state health insurance people found out about my part time gig at Newbury Comics and said I had some amount of time to prove that I was still making under $32k a year (the maximum allowed to qualify for the state health plan). I wrote them a note saying I only worked this part time job for 3 weeks and even so made $8 an hour, so it really didn’t affect my status in the least. They wrote back and said I needed to submit proof. I called and asked what. They said a tax return would work. Since it was the beginning of January, I hadn’t done my taxes yet, so I forgot about it. Then they cancelled my insurance. Yes, I know I was negligent and stupid and should have stayed on top of it all. So, a few weeks ago I submitted a form asking for a hearing to potentially reverse the decision. I have absolutely no idea when or if I will get a hearing; apparently you only hear about it 10 days before it’s going to happen. So, I re-applied for insurance. Of course this process will take like forever and meanwhile I will be barfing my guts out and probably being completely depressed because you’re not supposed to go cold turkey off these brain drugs (Wellbutrin & Zoloft).
I understand I screwed up! I am stupid! I suck! Now please, god of health insurance, expedite shit so I can stop feeling like crap all the time! I know you have tons of homeless pregnant teenage immigrants to deal with, but really. I had to go home early on Friday and I’m not feeling a whole lot better. This is going to affect my job performance which will ultimately make my income go down which means I will be in a lower bracket for health care and thus will pay less out of pocket and have more subsidized by the government. Speed shit up if you don’t want to have to pay more for my nauseous ass!