Health insurance in the States. Nothing is more stressful or needed than health insurance when you have a disability. It’s a total catch-22. If you have insurance, but make too much, you have to pay an outrageous premium. If you don’t have it, you don’t have to pay a premium, but you’re screwed if you get into an accident and have to stay in the hospital for an extended time. An ER visit without insurance can cripple you financially. This is something most people know.
What people may not be familiar with are the requirements to become eligible for insurance. The application process for Medicaid, the insurance for people who are disabled, is extensive enough that it may feel like getting a colonoscopy whilst simultaneously having a root-canal. In the dark. During an earthquake. Especially if this is your first time to sign up. For first timers, you are asked to provide proof of your disability along with documentation of ALL medical tests and surgeries related to said disability. That occurred since the day you became disabled-this includes dates and times. If you’ve been disabled your entire life, this requirement will no doubt illicit an eye roll so hard that you risk getting your eyeballs stuck to the inside of your head. Might as well add blindness to the disclosure form. 😀
You might be saying, “Oh come on! Applying for health insurance is part of being an adult.” And I agree with you. But although I’ve put on my big girl panties with my superhero cape, doesn’t mean the application process is any less daunting.
In the state where I live, Medicaid has changed slightly in the past couple months. Now if you apply, your timeline for turning in documents has decreased-while the level of documentation has increased. The stress level for making sure you have everything in on time is now greater, especially if you deal with daily anxiety. Not being able to drive also adds another element of frustration to an already steaming pile of strife (Sidenote: I’ll be writing a more in-depth entry on my history of driving later in the next few weeks). To add insult to injury, you are told if you use fax to turn in your documents, they’ll arrive faster and you won’t be penalized for a slow postal system. But sometimes these same machines malfunction–causing your documents to sit in literal limbo in cyber-world. Crying in vain to get to their intended destination.
The entire process of getting health insurance has taught me two lessons I’d like to pass on to you.
1. Make a list of everything you need before they send you a list. You can do this if you’ve applied before but missed the application deadline. This way you give yourself more time and are ahead of the game.
2. Although faxing is quicker, in the long run it’s probably more productive to gather up the endless bundles of documents, strap them on the top of your car–they won’t fit inside, too bulky–and present them to the Medicaid office before the deadline.
Besides, how else will you show off your fabulous super hero cape??
I hope the following made you smile as well as think about the reality of our health care system.
Remember, you are not alone. I’ll see you tomorrow! 🙂
PS-This post has generated quite a discussion on my FB page. I’m also curious to know other’s experiences in countries with free health care. If you are in a country with free care, comment below with your experiences, good or bad. Thanks! 🙂