I am uninsured today.
I have been blessed with having insurance since I was around 8 years old. My mother got benefits as a part-time teacher’s aide in rural Oregon. I remember feeling more secure as a child, knowing that the cost of healthcare was not a burden. My identical twin sister broke and had burns on both arms throughout her childhood. I was present for both accidents, but somehow avoided having any major accidents of my own.
The only time prior to now in which I was–briefly–uninsured was the weekend before moving to Washington, DC. I was between jobs. I was enjoying the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, where our grandparents were founding shareholders for the company and earned us lifetime ski passes. Darcy tore apart her knee on our second slope run. It was traumatic to watch. I considered my lack of insurance as the medics attended to her. Being true to myself, I still managed to get in one more run–albeit more cautiously than I might have otherwise. I haven’t used my lifetime ski pass since (let me know if you are interested in purchasing these).
In the last year I have spent hours upon hours dealing with health insurance. I have been extremely healthy throughout this time, and have only needed the most basic of check-ups. Yet, I can’t get affordable health insurance. It is really atrocious when someone who could afford reasonable healthcare expenses is forced to go without it. Below is the overview of how I got where I am today.
- I stepped down from my position with Green Empowerment in July 2015 and applied for insurance on July 30th.
- I bought a policy around the middle of August 2015 and put the policy in place retroactively by paying for all of August.
- I was stalked by literally dozens of calls from sales agents; many of the calls were at 6 am (due to my 202 area code) trying to sell me plans. This lasted for months.
- I paid my bill on auto-pay through the end of December.
- Monthly costs went up by a hundred dollars and the actual coverage was virtually non-existent unless you had serious conditions.
- When open enrollment began, I was forced to choose a new policy, as the one I first signed up for was no longer available.
- The new policy had a $1000 out-of-pocket deductible before any insurance would be applied (not just a co-pay or percentage, as I have always paid before).
- I was forced to change the set-up of my auto payment (not this was still through the Oregon Health Co-Op.
- I provided my bank account details and mistook my customer number for my account number and the first payment was accidentally rejected. This was a brand new account that I had created for my new living trust, at Advantis Credit Union.
- Even though I had spoken dozens and dozens of times to the company over a five month period, not once did anyone call to tell me that the number I provided was incorrect.
- On February 4th I realized that there was something wrong with my account. I paid my bill in full online.
- I received a letter on February 7th, notifying me that my insurance was irrevocably cancelled on January 30th, since my payment had not gone through. (Even though they took my money several days later and later had to refund me).
The Healthcare (Denial) System.
- I spent about hours on the phone on several occasions with the Oregon Health Co-op (whom I paid steadily for five months and from whom I received no services).
- Then I spoke with the Federal Insurance Marketplace for over two hours, only to be told that there was nothing they could do because of this payment issue (that was largely as the total lack of customer service).
- The final determination from all offices that I spoke with: I was ineligible to receive healthcare from anyone. I was told to wait until I got married in the summer, and only then could I reapply because of a life change – not simply because I needed access to health care.
- The Marketplace submitted a request on my behalf to determine if I was eligible for coverage with the Oregon Health Plan. I received a letter on September 30th telling me that I was rejected from both the marketplace and OHP, as of October 31st.
- The basis was that my son did not have insurance (and is required to have it), I was therefore ineligible as a punishment. In fact, my son Clark was insured through his father until August, when he took our previous blogging business on as a full time business.
- I had been told in February that I could reapply after getting married, so I alerted the Oregon Health Plan in July, adding Clark as well.
- I called at least three times each month in August, September, and October. The same continues in November. A weekly hour-long call getting nowhere. Each time I call the information I provided in the previous call remains unprocessed.
Where things stand.
I’m scheduled to call again in the morning after talking with an agent today for an hour.
To make matters worse, I know that I have skin cancer again. I happened to sit in on my twin sister’s dermatologist appointment and the doctor was also certain that I have a basal carcinoma growing on my back.
There is something phycological about knowing that you have cancer growing on your body.
I’ll continue to update and share this post as my journey unfolds.
In health and peace,