Saturday, September 1, 2012

health care hits home

I confess....I actually have a few real post ideas batting around in my head, but I'm not sure how much I can get through right now so will go more the update route.  The update actually does lead to a disturbing and apparently legal reality of the insurance world.  This is gonna be rambly...even for me...

  • The Body Stuff

I've been really struggling.  I think my body has just gotten too overwhelmed.  I did also switch off some meds and that's always a bit rough on me for some reason.  The Pain Clinic folks actually had planned on moving me on to another one but I haven't done that yet since I'm still off-kilter.  I started having these very vivid memory flashes in the overnight hours.  The best way I can explain it is like a tape recorder in my brain.  I am awake, or close to it (Pain Shrink thinks I may be in a middle-state and not fully waking, which does make sense) but I hear conversations from the past just like someone was playing a tape of the moment.  It has been an odd mix....greeting family on Thanksgiving somewhere around 2006, both before and after my back surgery, and some very hard emotional conversations that were tough enough to live through the first time.  At times, a few minutes has just run on a repeat loop.  It has interrupted my sleep and some of the memories my brain picks make me emotional and more ill. 

It is just plain odd.  Given timing, the first doc I mentioned it to was the new physiatrist (aka physical rehab docs...actually where I started with back stuff) my GP sent me to....I think he's fed up with the Pain Clinic not making progress and he likes this guy.  He was very nice but wanted to make sure I looked into the "tapes" before doing much else.  I'm in the process of doing that...and have added in sometimes hearing my own thoughts "aloud" in my talking to myself but I'm not (even harder to really explain).  I'll see someone about that stuff Thurs.  I also will go back to the physiatrist on Tues.  He's pulling an MRI to look at options and may send me a good bit away for diagnostic tests if needed.  He did recommend trying my old post-op brace a few hours a day which does seem to help. 

Things got harder this week though, so I haven't done as much of the brace time as I'd have liked.  I got really upset and stressed on Wednesday (which I'll get to in the next part).  I often get horrific headaches after getting emotional.  I think I also had a bit of a bug.  Put together with everything else, including poor sleep, I got pretty ill for a bit...."bathroom floor" kinda ill.  As a kid, I ended up in the ER several times when a belly-bug hit and I got dehydrated....I was very much going in that direction with a good 48h with no food and very little liquid.  But....

  • The Scary Insurance Stuff

The added wrinkle...the starting stressor that also exacerbated it all...I couldn't have easily gone to the ER no matter how bad it got.  Because I have no health insurance.  In fact, I hadn't had it for two weeks before X sent a note saying there might be an issue.  He got remarried....which is utterly fine by me emotionally but led to me being booted without warning.  I'd been on his insurance at a family rate, which MA law provides for after a divorce (I paid my share of the premium by sending him a check), but apparently the remarriage of either party terminates coverage.  I knew it would terminate if I got re-married, or had other access to a plan, but really never knew what would happen if he did.  I certainly never imagined the insurance company could revoke my coverage WITHOUT A WORD OF NOTICE.

It took a bit to calm down but I called within a few hours of X sending a note that HR had told him I could no longer be on the plan.  The lady was very calm and never mean but also very very clear.  I called on 8/29.  I had not had coverage since 8/16.  They had not sent any notice.  She said she would send some info and I can re-enroll.  I can also get retroactive...which I need since I had a couple doc appts the week the coverage terminated and have three more next week.  But right now, I'm uninsured. 

I know there are times and places that would have to have taken me if I showed up even without insurance, but I really got much worse with the idea that I kind of COULDN'T go to the ER for the severe health mess of the latter part of the week (sorry, that sentence is head's still not fully here).  They'd have checked when I got there and have found me uninsured.  Heck, that could have happened BEFORE I had any idea I wasn't covered.  I had to pick up some meds later in the week and CVS got a coverage rejection.   Luckily it wasn't pricey...and they can reimburse me w/o too much mess IF I can fix it w/in two weeks (not sure I can given that they just mailed the paperwork and need some signatures already).  I think the doc appts will be okay too....they don't usually run the insurance "live" like an ER or a drugstore would and hopefully the slowness of billing ends up working in my favor (they do always have you sign that you'll pay if your insurance doesn't)....two appts are places that know me so that should help too if there's a delay or I need them to re-send stuff too (more proof that you need to be nice to folks...the CVS people were super-kind and I think it helped that they know me and that I'm polite).

So...I'll have to suck it up a bit and pay a crazy premium until I find something else.  Not sure how all the continuing treatments will play in...there's been mention of a second surgery too given the total mess that is my back.  It'll be $880 per month.  I'm getting some help on that...and appreciate that help on the stress....but the whole thing makes me mad.  HOW DARE it be LEGAL to REVOKE insurance without any notification.  I won't bother thinking through X's role...whether he knew, whether he should have known...I can't ever know much there and have had folks argue both sides to me.  But I do know that it is not fair that the company's actions were all legal.  I know I am not someone who can risk being without one should HAVE to risk that but I've always made sure I didn't have even a short gap because my body has never been kind. 

I have long favored health care reform...I don't know how to do it, I don't pretend I can evaluate policy, but I know it needs to be fixed to help people protect their health without risking bankruptcy.  I know it needs to include a lot of financial reform too.  I know personal accountability also matters a lot.

And now I know it all even more. 

(again, sorry this is horridly rambly....i wish it were better since i do hope people see brain isn't fully restarted but i still need to get it out there).

P.S.  I want to get my head on straighter and my words back in shape but may put together a Change.Org petition when I do about forbidding revocation without notice.  No change in what makes revocation permissible....that'd add controversy...just a rule requiring 30 days notice before recocation, esp when it is not due to any action by the insured.  Maybe also require the insured get notice about options, even if it is a crazy premium increase, so they can make a choice before revocation rather than have to deal with it after (or be able to look at alternatives to avoid a gap...which would help make options real by preventing someone from incurring bills w/o knowing the policy has been revoked....kinda forces you to continue the old plan if you need those covered since a new plan isn't likely to give any sort of retroactive benefits).

1 comment:

Annabelle said...

Yeesh. When you have chronic conditions, losing your insurance is such a huge deal; I would have had a minor nervous breakdown if I'd lost mine without notice. Sorry you're having to pay so much. I am not having to do that right now but I've certainly worried about it.