I wrote and called the White House several times with an urgent specific issue about health insurance and got a form letter back. I lost my health insurance with the only company that covers people in Maryland with pre-existing conditions, and I will need dialysis or a kidney transplant soon. The numbers and websites below are no good for me because I’m not eligible for any of those programs. Medicaid has a $12,000 deductible in the first six months which is totally ridiculous.
By the way, a lot of people, including those at Health and Human Services (both national and local) are under the mistaken impression that the new health care law prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people on the basis of pre-existing conditions, but that’s not true. The provision is only good if you are under 19 or if it is after 2014. In fact, the way the underwriting codes are written, it is literally impossible for someone born with a pre-existing condition to get health insurance except through a federal pool but you have to have not had insurance for six months. Some states like Maryland have their own plans, making people ineligible for the federal plan, and the Maryland Health Insurance Plan was the one that terminated me because I missed a payment. They rejected my appeal. The second appeal is in progress but they say they are too busy to get to it now.
Yesterday I spent the whole day at the local HHS and at the end of the day they finally told me there would be a $12,000 deductible for Medicaid. I wish they had told me that last week when I was there.
Imagine if you forgot to pay your phone bill once, they didn’t give you a warning or even notify you of the termination, and then your phone service was cut off with no chance of getting any other phone service (unless you paid $12,000 first). Well, health insurance is a much more important issue. Without it, my donor can’t get tested, I can’t get my kidney function tested, I can’t get a procedure done to get back on the waiting list, I can’t get surgery to prepare for dialysis, I can’t get medications, not to mention that there’s always the possibility of getting in an accident or getting sick.
Here’s the White House’s form letter back:
Subject: Thank you for your message.
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 18:45:04 -0500
Thank you for writing. I have been moved and inspired by the stories of Americans struggling with health care, and I appreciate your perspective. It is because of the many men and women facing frustration, hardship, and financial burden in addition to significant health problems that we worked so hard to get health reform done.
After a century of striving, after a year of debate, and after a historic vote, health care reform is no longer an unmet promise to the American people. It is the law of the land. While some reforms will be put in place later, a host of desperately needed reforms have already gone into effect. To learn more about what health reform means for you, visit www.HealthCare.gov orwww.WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform.
As we work together to improve the lives of all our citizens, please know the trials and triumphs of Americans like you motivate my Administration to work even harder to overcome the challenges before us. I am confident we will emerge from these tough times stronger than before with a renewed promise of a better future for all.
For more information on resources that may be available to you, please visit http://go.usa.gov/aIv or http://go.usa.gov/aI7 or call 1-(800)-FED-INFO. Those seeking assistance with health care can also call the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-(877)-696-6775.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I wish you all the best.