“Monday’s Funday, Charlie Brown?” ”Nightmare on My Street?” It doesn’t really matter what I call this blog entry.
Last night I went to pick up a prescription for the drug that reduces phosphorous in the blood. I found out that my health insurance had been terminated because of non-payment. I never received any extra notices saying it was late, no warnings, and I wouldn’t have even known that my health insurance was cancelled if I hadn’t gone to the pharmacy.
I can almost hear the critics, the righteous ones, now saying, “You should have paid, and you should have known that might happen. It says it right there in the agreement…” There is no way to automatically pay each month. I happened to forget. If you forget to pay your phone or cable bill, you get a call reminding you. Not so for health insurance.
I very urgently need the insurance for meds, services such as labwork, and for my a potential donor to get tested – I will soon need a transplant or dialysis (www.mikeneedsakidney.com).
CareFirst BCBS/Maryland Health Insurance Plan says I will have to appeal and won’t find out for 60 days. I swear, I could have told them, “I’m going to die at 5 p.m. today, but you can save my life by allowing me to pay the monthly premium and I’ll live,” and they would have probably replied, “I understand, but we can’t do anything. It’s policy.” So I FedExed the letter and it cost $25.
I had to cancel an appointment today at Georgetown Hospital for a kidney transplant evaluation and it takes two and a half months to get an appointment.
I called 311 -that’s when you have something that supposedly isn’t an emergency, and predictably, they treat it like it’s not that important.
I was told to go to the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services office and apply for insurance but it takes two months to get it.
So I spent all day at the local HHS and found out that they only offer medical assistance, not health insurance, and that even that takes two months. But not before going to the wrong building. They told me to go to a certain address, and after two hours of waiting I was told it was only for kids and pregnant women. But there were a bunch of men there too and I asked the guy where the sign was indicating that it was for just pregnant women and kids and he said he didn’t know. So he directed me to the right place.
Then I applied for BCBS through einsurance.com and got rejected because of kidney disease. Their earliest start date was 12/1 anyway.
Then I called the US Uninsured Helpline/”Coverage For All” (or at least some) at 800-234-1317 and they directed me to the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (the ones that dropped me and won’t reinstate me for at least two months). They said the only other option is the new federal health care program, but you aren’t eligible for that if you’ve had health insurance the last six months.
One other thing about MHIP is that when you ask to speak to a supervisor, they always say that one will get back to you within 24-48 hours, but it’s a lie — it never happens.
Then I called Medicare. They said I’m only eligible for Medicare if I’m on dialysis or have a transplant. Then I called Social Security. Same thing.
They referred me to healthcare.gov but it turns out that they only mention Medicare, plans like MHIP, and Medicaid, which I found out from Social Security is the same as “medical assistance” and is health insurance, which would work, but I can’t wait that long.
I called and emailed Congressman Van Hollen, who is great at stumping on MSNBC for the Democrats, but so-so at best when responding to important requests from constituents, from what I’ve experienced.
I have a procedure scheduled next week, will need an access for dialysis put in in the next month, and if the hospital finds that my insurance has lapsed, they won’t run the tests on the donor, which would make the need for the dialysis access surgery even greater.
Then I called the “Coverage for All/We’re just kidding about our title” line again and they gave me a bunch of numbers for insurance brokers. The only problem is that they were financial companies.
The bottom line is, how can I get health insurance effective immediately so that 1) any potential donor can get tested, 2) I can get the tests I need to get back on the waiting list, and 3) I can get the surgery for the access for dialysis, plus many other reasons? It seems like there’s literally no way for me to get health insurance now. If anyone knows of a way, if you are the first person to send me information leading to me getting health insurance right away, I will pay you a $100 reward. Seriously. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And also remember that when people scoff at the notion that people can’t get health insurance, and claim that that problem really doesn’t exist, here’s proof.
Reward just went up to $150.
Also see: Health Insurance Fiasco Part 1 and Part 2.
Update: I also called the Maryland Insurance Information to make a complaint and they told me to fax it in and they would investigate it within two months.
I also called MHIP and they said no, you’re not eligible to get reinstated within two months, it will take 12 months.
I also called the White House but got put on hold.
Then I called the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and left a message.
I called the Maryland Kidney Disease program but they are only a supplement for people who already have insurance.
Then I called “The Best Affordable Maryland Health Insurance Choices and Ethical Advice from the National Association of Socially Responsible Organizations (NASRO) for Non Profits, Businesses and Individuals/National Association for Socially Responsible Organizations” but the mailbox was full.
I also emailed Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, and asked if he would put me in touch with someone at HHS but there was no reply.