Monday, November 11, 2013

Trying to get health insurance is actually making me unhealthy.

I haven't blogged in a very long time--this we know. I don't know that I'm going to start back up again with any regularity, because frankly, my voice and priorities have changed and I don't have any direction to take this mess.  I'm back on here today because I need a platform to vent my frustrations, and you all are free to ignore me as usual.

A little over a month ago, I switched jobs. Yay, right? My previous job had mediocre benefits (because why reward your slaves if you are a company and don't have to?), but it was enough to cover the one health care expense that I have: a longstanding prescription for anti-baby medication. (Sorry if that's too much information, but if you've read my blog before, you're probably like, "Oh good, because she really should not be breeding any time soon.") I went from being a full-time employee to a contract employee with an agency that placed me into a (moderately) better position with a large tech corporation (let's call them "Shmicrosoft"), all with the promise of fantastic benefits once I finished my year-long contract and (possibly, "probably") got hired by the corporation. "Indentured servitude for a year is probably better than many years of prison from cracking at my previous gig!" I thought naively. In the span of that year, my plan was to buy private insurance until I became eligible to get insurance through my future FTE.

Oh, what a simple idea that was. Little did I know the trouble I would be in. (Spoiler:  YOU GUYS, IT'S WORSE THAN THE DMV.)

I voluntarily opted out of my contract agency's proffered benefits plan due to the sheer cost. ("Wait.. if I have renal surgery I have to give them one of my kidneys?!") I'd done a bit of research (re: Googling) into private health insurance coverage and knew I could find something better that was less expensive. In point of fact, I actually could not afford to take on the cost of my contract agency's plan--it totaled about $400 per month (because the doctors are made of solid gold, probably), and that is way over my monthly Taco Bell and comic book budget.

Bear in mind, this was the most basic plan. I am a young (just under 30) woman with no existing health conditions, do not smoke or drink excessively (anymore, though I may start again if this shitshow continues), am of a healthy body weight (despite the aforementioned Taco Bell) and have long since stopped alligator wrestling. I am a health care provider's wet dream: the kind of person who visits the doctor about once a year, almost never ends up in the emergency room (three times in my life, about once a decade), eats vegetables and flosses her teeth, and pays my bills on time. It shouldn't be hard for me to find something relatively affordable, right?

Wrong. Well, almost wrong. I did a lot of research (remember, I Google things!); I spent a lot of time on the phone waiting for representatives from numerous companies to answer my questions about things like deductibles and co-pay and prescription coverage and the like. When I finally found a plan, I checked and double checked my application paperwork. I was an A-student, you know. I did my homework and I turned it in on time.

I applied through a website that was NOT the government website, but was a similar aggregate type situation. Several different providers and plans were listed, and after I had selected one, I went through the lengthy process of following up with my application. The website had constant issues (so it's not just the government site, it's ALL of them) and I spent hours reformatting documents, sending them to people, and having others upload them from different networks (because maybe your Internet is better than mine!).

I submitted and re-submitted paperwork:  bank statements, "proof of residence" rental agreements, copies of my driver's license...just about everything short of my blood type and criminal record WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY EXTENSIVE because I clearly have proven myself to be a nerd with no social life and everyone needs an outlet, right? (Mine is actually knitting, not defenestration.)

My application has been in the PROCESSING stage for exactly one month today. (Happy Anniversary, eHealthInsurance! Let's celebrate by finishing my goddamn application, shall we?!)

 My frustration is boundless. I am one email away from ending up on YouTube as "insane girl trashes computer and jumps out window OMG HILARIOUS!!!".

Swallowing the first lump of frustration and sucking up the fact that I will be paying for my anti-baby medication this month while my application continues to sit in the queue collecting e-dust was fine, until I called in my prescription renewal. It actually costs roughly the same for me to pay out of pocket for one prescription refill as it does for one month of this supposed health insurance I'm supposed to be on. (My birth control might actually be made of solid gold, too.)

The stress and frustration of this entire process is causing me to lose sleep. It's giving me headaches every time I have to sit on the phone for 20 minutes to wait for someone to answer my questions about the status of my application. It's so distracting that I can't even remember to fix my own grammar errors in this. I can't even focus on consistent punctuation.

The process of applying for health insurance is actually stressing me (a healthy person) out to the point of unhealthiness, and I'm zooming towards the inevitable mental breakdown that will land me (and probably some other people) in a hospital emergency room with the taxpayers footing the bill. Hey, sorry, you guys! I was willing to pay for my health insurance until my health insurance put me in the hospital!  NOW YOU'RE ALL FUCKED, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Presumably, I am not the only person going through this getting the runaround. So, the system is flawed--everyone knows this. Obamacare is supposed to fix the problems--okay, sounds great. (Though I have my doubts about the workings of a government who thinks it's perfectly okay to just stop working when they disagree. Look, I work for the Andy Dick of technology companies, and if I didn't show up for work because I disagreed with the way things were going, I would be at home all the time dreaming about my alligator wrestling days. That's not the way the world works, folks.)

If everyone is supposed to go through this process and you're trying to maintain some kind of order while they do, just fucking let people do it. Seriously. Stop complicating this any more than it is. I'm not trying to get out of it. I'm not trying to get the government to pay for it. I know I'm a big girl and this shit is important--hey, it's the law now, and I am indeed a law abiding citizen. But for fuck's sake, give people the tools that they need in order to follow your laws in the first place.

No comments:

Post a Comment