It’s the start of the new year and I am sure there are people who have all their resolutions for the New Year in place. I on the other hand, have spent the last month hanging on a limbo of medical insurance quandary. Ah heck, the whole month of December, my family and have spent each day hoping to not get sick, not get injured, not get anything that would need medical intervention.
Don’t get me wrong. This insurance lapse is not due to our negligence. We had expected our COBRA through Armando’s work to end on December 1st, 2016. So we got our crap together. Well we thought we did anyway. Got all my meds refilled, saw the doctors we needed to see and had arranged for private insurance through Covered California. This is the route we have to take since my husband is now working for himself. I was not too worried for myself since in July of 2015, I received a letter from Social Security that although I am not eligible for disability payments, I am qualified to receive Medicare in October of 2016. So, I felt confident that I was covered and I was also relieved that we would be getting some financial savings on our health insurance.
So, it looked like we had everything set, right? Well, not so much. On December 3, Scotty had a wrestling tournament and landed on his knee the wrong way. Trusting that we have health insurance, I tried to log in to the insurance website to schedule a video appointment. I tried unsuccessfully logging in a few times, so (I had to resort to making a phone call and (gasp) talk to a real person. That was when I found that none of us were insured. And all for different reasons! I mean what were the chances? Since Armando took care of the boys’ insuance, I was only able to get info for myself. I was confident that Medicare had me covered since I had also had applied for supplemental insurance. Imagine my shock when I found out Medicare will not cover me til April of 2017. I could not get any more info from the woman since she did not work for Medicare. I was hit with a sense of dread. I cannot be without insurance. The sense of uncertainty was over whelming. Since socil security offices were closed for the weekend, I had to wait a day and a half for answers.
Monday morning, the first thing I did was call Social Security. After being on hold for 55 minutes, a woman who seem to be not so interested in being at her job clicked her computer keys for effect as she attempted to “research” my case. When I asked her how come I am not eligible for Medicare until April even though I had a letter that tells me I was eligible, her response was ” I don’t know, I didn’t send you that letter”. I was already on the verge of tears, from frustration, fear and anxiety. To get this type of response was driving me over the edge. The lady was incredibly rude and unconcerned. I asked for a supervisor and the best response she gave me was “let me connect you to your local SS office. So, after another 40 minutes on hold ( my poor brain was already running out of juice), I finally got connected to another rep. I was ready to give her the riot act but her calm manner and caring voice helped calmed me down a bit. she was genuinely attempting to help me.
She looked up my case. She was surprised that I even received a letter stating I was enrolled for Medicare when it usually takes two years and six months after disability to become enrolled. The poor woman was really trying to help, but the office computers were down. She was hoping from desk to desk, I could tell because she was running out of breath! She finally pulled up my file and saw what I was talking about. She was surprised to see that I indeed received a letter which stated October as my eligibility date. Unfortunately, there was nothing she can do about this. It was a Medicare error and I would need to sign up under Covered California at least until April 2017. I am very angry about this. This was an error that could have cost my family financial difficulty. I have no way of finding out who is responsible for this mistake.
Let me take a slight detour here for a moment. Our Social Security System has deemed it necessary for an individual to wait two and a half years after they are determined disabled before they can avail of medical services! I mean WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!! I was fortunate enough to have my husband’s insurance the past two years to help me get the medical services that I needed. Many people get in a tight spot during this waiting period. This sheet explains and answers some of the questions on why there is a need to wait. But what if a person does not have employee sponsored insurance or COBRA coverage? How does one get care? To think that people who depend on Medicare are people on disability and are not able to work full time. Some maybe receiving SSDI and some are not (like me).
We spent the month of December avoiding getting sick or getting hurt. Luckily for Scotty, his knee healed on it’s own. No one had any major illnesses and as far as we know, we have insurance starting the first of January.
I don’t usually set New Years resolutions. I do have goals that I will be working on for the year. The first of which is to complete my first post stroke 10k!
Do you have New Year’s resolutions? Have you had any issues with Medicare or MediCal? Do you think it’s worth the energy to pursue who made the Medicare mistake?
Hope this 2017 brings everyone health, peace and prosperity.