Health Care, Personalized
Ok, now I’m mad. It’s gotten personal.
It’s about health care for my family. You see, I was laid off in April, after 25 years with the same company. It was a big company, and my insurance came out of my paycheck, I never thought about it. But then, I never thought that I would go 6 months without being able to find another job to replace it. Finally, two weeks ago, my health insurance benefits with my former company ran out. I applied for COBRA (the government’s plan to continue health care coverage based on previous care) but found out that our family is not eligible for the COBRA stimulus plan because my husband can get us health insurance through his company. Never mind that his company is very small (they only employ 8 full time workers) and therefore can only offer one insurance option (Blue Cross Blue Shield) that picks up part of the premium for my husband – not for the rest of our family. This plan is costly – almost half of our now monthly income – but it’s our only option, other than having no insurance at all.
But that’s not why I’m mad.
If it were just the monthly cost, that would be bad enough. But not only does this plan have us paying almost half our income just to HAVE insurance (which doesn’t include co-pays, etc.) but before the insurance company will disburse even $1 towards our costs, we have to pay, out of our pocket, a $1,600 deductible. $1,600 before they pay a thing. And, while we’re paying off this deductible, we still have to pay the insurance company more than what we pay for our mortgage, each month.
But that’s still not why I’m mad.
I just got a letter from BCBS, informing us that they will not cover my daughter’s Type 1 diabetes care for months because it’s a “pre-existing condition”, regardless of when we pay off the deductible. Let me repeat: our insurance company will not help us get insulin for my diabetic daughter, or pay for her endocrinology appointments, because she was diabetic before I got laid off. The ONE THING we need health insurance for, we’re on our own to take care of it with no assistance… while still paying an insurance company almost half our income for the honor of their not helping us with our medical needs.
I know many of you have good jobs and don’t have to worry about health care or health insurance. I know I didn’t think about it before now – it just came out of my paycheck; out of sight, out of mind. But now, I see just how dysfunctional the whole system is. We need reform, and we need it now. But no matter how fast it comes (yeah, right, with all the political posturing and partisan infighting that is Washington) it’s going to be too late for me and my family. I hope my son’s college education isn’t compromised. Hell, I hope our house isn’t compromised.
It’s really hard right now to keep desperation from take over. I try to keep an upbeat attitude as I send out resume after resume that are met with either no interest or outright rejection. I remind myself that I’m not the only one struggling right now, and it’s not a reflection on my value as a worker, or a person. But I don’t know how much longer I can keep telling my kids that everything is going to be ok. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to hold it all together.
All of a sudden, the winter is looking very bleak, indeed.