Caught In The Crosshairs

I can’t believe it, but I am uninsured right now.

Those who know my health history can’t believe it either.

But we are victims of timing.

Bryan was laid off, losing his group insurance. We have applied to two major insurance companies and were denied so fast that my email actually created a breeze up into my hair. If you can’t guess why, look back at all these health posts.

We have access to COBRA and will most likely be enacting it this week, to the tune of $1,500 a month. Just to provide a stop gap before Bryan gets a new job, with group benefits. Where medical underwriting is not required.

We are also exploring what we can do through my company, but seeing as we are tweeny weeny (me) – again, getting coverage without medical underwriting is pretty impossible.

Medical underwriting as in, telling me it sucks to have diabetes.

Something I inherited.

In the middle of the Supreme Court ruling I made a comment on Facebook that “health is not a choice.” Of course, I was set upon like day-old meat sitting in a corral of rabid dogs.

“Health is a choice!”

“People who don’t take care of themselves get what they deserve!”

“I am taking the risk by being uninsured, why should you care?”

So, sure, there is a lifestyle component to diabetes, but really? Being 15 pounds overweight caused me to get it at age 32? What about children with Type I who get the diabetes as toddlers? Did they have a choice?

And – lest we forget – did I choose to have a life-threatening ear infection?

If I haven’t been clear on the subject, I had several CT scans where they were making sure my skull had not fractured. My doctor actually said to me, “I need to make sure your brain is not leaking.”

From an ear infection. That I had no control over.

And now those two things have forced my whole family to be uninsured.

We will fix it soon, and pay a lot of money to fix it, and scrape hard for even more money to fix it, but we will do it. We have Plan A, B, C and D for combinations of insurance and where to go for it.

But why?

Why does someone with a traditional job get more access to health care than I do?

Why would I be denied coverage for a very common disease and an uncommon malady that will never happen again?

It’s just crazy.

Worried About Healthcare

This article has 28 comments

  1. Sarah G.

    Because people flock by the millions to the doctor or to the ER—their ersatz GP—and demand their insurance company cover placebo treatments for illnesses that would go away if they just rested for a couple of days; unnecessary drugs; and frivolous treatments and tests that lead to lawsuits and multi-million-dollar penalties. It drives up the cost of insurance so that those who really need it can’t buy it. I worked in HR for about four years through college and one of my jobs was processing insurance claims for employees. What I saw made me so frustrated I wanted to scream.

    Insurance in Louisiana ran about $2000/month with a $5000 deductible with no maternity insurance and no coverage for my diabetes. We didn’t buy it. Who could afford it? It’s crazy.

  2. SUEB0B

    Everyone is responsible for the health care crisis. People don’t shop for lower medical prices and often doctors can’t tell you what their prices are. Doctors and hospitals who raise their prices for the insured so they can cover the costs of those without insurance. People who don’t take care of themselves and expect medicine to fix everything. Lawyers who file lawsuits for malpractice for problems that no one could have prevented. It’s not a simple solution. Everyone wants to blame someone else.

    We have the nuttiest system on earth, and it really needs to get fixed.

  3. Dalyce

    It is for this reason that I do not understand why many people think Canada’s health care system is so frightening. I live in British Columbia where health care is a citizen’s right. We pay a very minimal fee each month to our provincial HC system to have coverage. There is no discrimination whatsoever. In fact, it is a requirement of each province that every member be covered. Th cost is around $100 per month for families and much less for individuals. I am hoping that this very unfortunate situation can be changed for you. Take care.

  4. Rachel

    I hope something happens soon that allows you affordable coverage. In the meantime, woohoo COBRA. Ugh.

  5. catherine

    If you had a legitimate ear infection, wouldn’t your brain have ways to shut that whole thing down?

    Grrrrrrr. It sucks and I’m sorry it’s happening to you.

  6. Aimee Giese

    Cathy – I just spit out my drink! hahaha

  7. Lindy

    Every time I read about the horrible state of healthcasre in the US I get angry. If we stopped thinking of it as a business and more as a basic human right things would change. Why are people so confrontational? THEY need to take better care of themselves. THEY should get a job, the lazy bastards.

    I moved to the UK 7 yrs ago after I met and fell in love w/ a Brit. I have experience of both US & UK healthcare. I can w/out hesitation say I am lucky that the National Health Service exists. The Doc offices and hospitals might not be all shiney glass and chrome but the care I get is excellent. Because there is a limited amount of money from the gov’t prices are kept low. No $85 bandages. As the richest country in the world we should be ashamed that we are in such a state! Don’t fear nationalised healthcare. I personally think it would do wonders for our economy. Imagine how many people w/ great ideas never go out on their own because the thought of not having healthcare is too great a risk.

  8. Aimee Giese

    Margie – We have until Sept 20th for COBRA… so we are already hedging our bets a bit.

    And the pre-existing clause for adults does not kick in until 2014.

    COME ON 2014!!!

  9. Elaine Ellis

    This is crazy. Crazy. It shows how two people who have been hard working Americans, business owners and parents can be put on such weak footing so quickly. $1,500 a month? That’s pretty much two months rent for me. My dad was an independent attorney and even in the 80s and 90s, healthcare was pretty scary for our family but still doable. I don’t think he could have an independent practice today.

    I remember when I was looking for independent insurance and not a single provider would cover pregnancy (not that I was planning on it) but still, ovaries aren’t a pre-existing condition.

  10. Angus McRae

    I just sent you a tweet – Each of your family members have an independent right to elect COBRA. Call his old employer and ask for cost for individual COBRA for you. Requote individual insurance to include just your husband and child. I’ll bet that will be less expensive than the $1,500.

  11. Kriddie

    Catherine, hilarous!
    Shut ‘er down Aimee, you have the power, right?!?

    I’m so sorry about this situiation & i’m sorry my insurance people were not able to help you out.
    My hope is that Bry finds an amazing job soon that makes him happy & gets you guys covered (insurance-wise.)
    My fingers & toes are crossed for you & the fam!

  12. Wink

    ARRRRRGGGHHH! I suffer from a (probably genetically inherited) auto-immune condition which I can assure you was NOT caused by any personal health choices. I’m pretty sure that I only qualify for insurance under the current (pre-2014) clause because I have miraculously managed to never let my coverage lapse, although being self-employed means that my insurance is breaking me financially and still doesn’t cover the no-generic-equivalent drug that my doctor feels is best for my condition. Which means that I can’t actually afford the “best” solution, and use a lesser drug while I wait for a patent to run out.

    What I’m saying is that our system NEEDS changing, I feel your pain, and I hope that Bryan gets you guys employer-subsidized care soon!

  13. Bryan

    On the bright side, I believe I now qualify for government subsidized Viagra. Just in case I have to go into prostitution or politics.

    Don’t tell me we don’t have our priorities straight. Blue steel. Cat couldn’t scratch it. (name the movie, get a bonus cookie.)

  14. Mary-Frances Main

    We were uninsured for 3 years – I finally got the kids insurance – through the state – not pretty, complicated and somewhat embarrassing. My husband took a permanent job just recently so we can take advantage of cobra (believe me it is the BEST option) – there is a group for independent contractors in New York that banded together to get group insurance. I’d love to see some of us get this sort of thing going here – it’s crazy otherwise (trust me, I’ve done the research).

  15. jessicam

    Cathy for the win!

  16. Becky

    Cathi’s comment = awesome.
    Your situation = sucky. I still can’t get over why this country of ours can’t get it together on the health care issue and why, for the love of Pete, would anyone be against health care for all. Makes me shake my head.

  17. MargieK

    You probably already know this, since you’re so well-informed, but you have 3 months (or maybe it’s 90 days) after the loss of group coverage to sign up for COBRA. That means you can avoid paying their sky-high rates until forced to do so by a catastrophic event or continued unemployment (beyond the 3 months). I don’t know how much diabetes meds/equipment cost (surely not $1500/month, I hope).

    Hope Bryan lands a group-coverage job soon. We went without health care for a while when the kids were little; it was scary, but we were lucky in that no one had any expensive problems during that time.

    Wasn’t one of the planks of healthcare reform supposed to do away with that nasty pre-existing conditions roadblock? Doesn’t that go into effect soon (not soon enough, obviously)?

  18. sj

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Sarah Jane

    Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve faced a similar situation in the past and it sucks. One suggestion, have you looked at the Freelancer’s Union? They may have channels which could work for you to self insure at a group rate.

  20. Sizzle

    What a scary place to be in. Sometimes things happen to us that are not our fault and we NEED that coverage. I haven’t even received the bills for my first surgery but I know that even with my insurance coverage, they are going to be a financial burden.

  21. JoAnn (The Casual Perfectionist)

    What a mess! A little boy who goes to school with Claire (they’re First Graders this year) was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 3yrs old. The amount they pay every month WITH insurance is ASTRONOMICAL. I just cannot wrap my brain around it.

    Without insurance, they’e be bankrupt. It’s just crazy.

    Good luck with your situation!!

  22. Lola

    Oh, man…that sucks, Aimee. I hope Bryan finds a job soon. For a long time I was against a national healthcare system…but as I’ve gotten older it makes more and more sense to me. I worry about what my daughter will face when she’s too old to be covered by my husbands insurance. She does have Type 1 Diabetes and our co-pay alone for her insulin, test strips, syringes, and lancets far exceeds $200 monthly. I have no idea what we’d do if hubby lost his job…if COBRA is $1500 for a family of 3, I can’t imagine what it would be for a family of 7.

  23. Aimee Giese

    Thanks again for all your support, everyone. I can always rely in you for help!!!

  24. Jenna

    AUUUUGH. I hear you. I have a rare kidney disorder, and if my husband were ever to be laid off, I’d be SOL. Thinking of you.

  25. Knighton

    Quick note: most private insurers will accept Statements of Continuous Coverage (or some such jargon) from your previous insurer(s), as a means to bypass the pre-existing condition BS.

    That’s what we had to do about a year ago, and my husband and I were able to find private insurance for under $400/month. It’s not the most comprehensive plan in the world, but it’s decent enough that we’ve been able to sleep nights.

  26. darcie

    Arg, the whole healthcare situation is just maddening! I wish we could just have the national coverage of Canada or the UK so things like this didn’t keep happening. Why do wealthy people have a greater right to health? For-profit healthcare is simply not working, and I don’t understand why such a large population of Americans don’t get that.

    So yeah, just “shut down” whatever ails might try to come at you between now and your husband’s next employer! (And virtual high fives to Catherine for her comment!)

  27. Moi

    I have a seizure disorder and my husband has a pituitary tumor (managed through meds). Note to zombies: Our brains will do you no good.

    I have 20 years of medical coverage records in my office, just in case an insurance company asks for it. The last one asked for 10 years. TEN. I believe the poor person who made that request of me is still in therapy because of my response.

  28. Sunny Hunt

    I just went through something similar. Trying to find private insurance with two pre-existing conditions (conditions which are managed by generic medications)is so tough.

    I was lucky and found a high-deductible policy that would accept us. A “death” policy if you will.

    COBRA is completely unrealistic from a financial standpoint but that’s pretty obvious when you choke on the price quote.

    I honestly believe our health care system in the US won’t be fixed until either we go National or the health insurance carriers are non-profit and the malpractice lawyers get a much needed vacation.

    Fingers crossed that a financially viable solution crosses your path quickly!

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