I realize that I am posting these pieces as much for myself as for anyone else to consider. I want not to be caught up in the polarization of campaigning. I want to take time to remember what matters to me and why and then let that and what I understand today guide me when I vote. This time I want not change for the sake of change but more and better attention to us all. I wish more had already been achieved, but I do not want to abandon hope for what, despite my doubts, I think this president may achieve. I heard unexpected support only hours ago.
Yesterday I saw my endocrinologist and when we were discussing the six months of being uninsured I need to wait until I am eligible to apply for the high risk pool, we were not understanding the same thing. My insurance ran out at the end of June. I understood, from the state’s Department of Insurance website that I can apply to the federal pool come January. They suggest looking at the federal pool because the premiums will be half the premiums my state must charge. My endocrinologist understands that the federal pool will not exist until 2014. He and I both want to know. Information needs to be more clear. He just kept saying,”Pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions. Health care reform. Why would anyone be fighting this? It will change so much for the better.” (Children with pre-existing conditions are in the system to be covered as of now. As far as I know, adults will not be included as such until ’13 or ’14.) The message is hopeful and some things are already in place, but details are not well known because, as far as I can see, they are not yet clear. Not being clear and not existing or being taken away are not the same. How few days remaining until election day?
I am incredibly lucky. A week before my appointment I went to the lab for blood tests. I was terrified of what they would cost and knew that I might need to walk away with no blood drawn to decide on Plan B. I told them I had no insurance and that I needed to know first what the tests would cost. I waited while a calculator clicked. It was less than half of the lowest cost I had found elsewhere. I was so relieved that I wept. I seem to be doing a fair bit of that lately.
I talked with the doctor’s secretary the day before my visit. She agreed to charge me the lowest fee. I am incredibly lucky.
One last note. I lost my job just before the crash. I was able to obtain coverage through COBRA for 18 months. If I had had a job, I am not sure how I could have spent so much time on the phone and looking at websites to keep up with what I needed to know.
Somehow I learned that my state offered a six month state extension to COBA coverage. There it was in black and white and yet, when I rang the people taking payment for COBRA, they finally admitted to me that the whole thing was so complicated, they had decided not to train anyone to understand the state possibility or how it worked. This lack of training seemed to exist almost everywhere. No one seemed to know. If I hadn’t kept notes together and held my calm, I wouldn’t have finally found the one person who seemed to be the only one who clearly did understand. Why isn’t his name clearly known to everyone who needs it? He was wonderful but even then, when I had to continually correspond with my old employer and a new business manager, nothing stayed secure. For one month out of the six, nothing was covered because the insurance company lost track of which state I was in. I can only imagine some are reading and nodding their heads.
I am and have been incredibly lucky. I have not wanted to cry on the phone when I cease to exist as a person because I am clearly a liability who will allow no profit. I have felt broken by some of these calls and I suppose that is why I have not made one in a while. I am trying to breathe and find my way through as are countless others. I have found testing strips I can afford at WalMart, not my favorite store. I have a new monitor and new strips. Isn’t it just funny though that when I open the strips they are manufactured by the people who make the strips I can no longer afford. They are the same strips.
My tablets are generic and so I am able now to pay less for them at my supermarket pharmacy thanks to their “program” than I paid as co-payments. Hmmm. Insulin, for me, is the hardest one. In England, once they became available, we were given pens. Clearly the company had a contract with the NHS. Once you have had the freedom of a pen which doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can stay with you all day, you are terribly spoiled. At least I have been. I checked with my pharmacist to know what to expect. $250.00 for a box of 5. I knew I would need to go back to the vial and syringe that I thought I could afford. The vial, which I thought would be so much less expensive thinking of days when I bought them for my father, is $100.00.
A friend asked if I had looked on Amazon. I thought she was out of her mind. Sure enough, there they are. Within my reach they are again. How many of us are playing whatever games will help? I am incredibly lucky. I have been hospitalized only twice and long ago - once here and once in England- because of flu. Insurance, then, covered me here. In England the words “bill”, “invoice” did not exist.
I am lucky. I hope we all can be lucky. I hope for a future that allows us all not to be afraid to fall ill because we may receive no care.
Pause concluded. For now.