I am going to start by apologizing. I am sorry that I am even complaining about this because I know that in the grand scheme of things, there are people that don’t even have the luxury of stressing about this.
Last week my husband had his annual benefits meeting. In it they reviewed the upcoming changes to their benefits packages. From health insurance all the way down the AD&D plans. He met me in the drive way when I got home from being with my grandmother, took our daughter from my arms, and then told me that we couldn’t afford health insurance any longer. I laughed, because, well it was a ludicrous statement and he was the kind of guy that would make an outlandish claim like that out of frustration.
He took me inside and showed me the paperwork that they had received. As he took our daughter’s coat and boots off he told me everything that had been said at the meeting. I got a beer from the fridge and sat down in front of my lap top. I pulled up my trusty excel file with our budget and went through our current insurance costs and input what the new costs would be and did a side by side comparison. It was a $400 a month increase from what we were paying now. What we were currently paying was already too high as our insurance didn’t really cover much (our daughter was sick over the summer and needed prescription eye drops. A seven day supply cost almost $300 out of pocket).
I double checked all the figures because even my trusty excel has betrayed me before. It still came out to an increase of more than our car payment. I ran the numbers through a few different ways, tried some options that I was less comfortable with, and drank a few more beers. I kept coming back to the same thought, my husband was right, we couldn’t afford health insurance any longer. It was a terrible, sinking feeling. For a few minutes I put my head in my hands and wallowed in it.
Then, I remembered Obamacare. Ahhhh, that was going to save us! A quick trip to Google later and I realized that we had missed the open enrollment period by TWO DAYS. A few more clicks around the internet and I discovered that most of our other insurance routes were no longer options either.
I did not know that most insurance companies had their own “open enrollment” periods that they would not accept new applications after. Apparently this is to keep people from waiting for an illness/diagnosis and then deciding to get health insurance.
Back to the drawing board I went. My husband’s employer had included a bunch of pamphlets in their handouts. Two of them were for government assistance programs. I was incensed. Not only were they offering such abysmal insurance options at an unattainable cost, but they knew it. They were aware of it enough that they had taken the time to print out CHIP pamphlets. They basically said, “We know that this insurance is too expensive to be an option for you. Here, this number is usually for people who are unemployed but maybe they can help you.” Incensed.
I did the math and then did it a few more times. You know, because it’s usually that sixth pass where the numbers all change and everything makes sense. I threw up my hands in disgust and then went into the bathroom to floss my teeth (apparently my go to stress reducer). All the while the same words kept running through my head, we can’t afford this. Only that wasn’t true at all. We could afford it. It was going to be a burden, but one that we could bear. We just wouldn’t be happy about it. I’d rather spend that money on getting our savings back up to prewedding/when I was still a business woman and LulaRoe Leggings (my new obsession, thank you very much).
I titled this, “Thanks Obama” in jest. Also because I find the whole, “Thanks Obama” movement hilarious. I don’t actually blame the president for the ever increasing costs of health insurance. Just like I don’t blame him for the rising cost of living. I wasn’t getting any raises under the Bush administration either. Actually, it’s been under this administration that I had seen my longest period of continuous employment in my industry. Not that I want to get started on that tangent tonight. I’ll save that for another day.
So, what’s a family to do? Right now we’re taking the ridiculously priced health insurance offered through my husband’s employer (it may be expensive, but at least it’s crappy… wait, those are two down sides), and calling an old friend of the family who is an insurance broker for some insight. I am hoping that she doesn’t laugh at me and tell me that this is just the way the world is now (a very real possibility which would require me to apologize for all of the awful things that I thought, and some that I said, about my husband’s employer), and instead tells me that she has the perfect plan for us that is both affordable and awesome (yeah, I know, less realistic). As dire as our situation feels in this moment, it’s still manageable. I know for many, it is not. All I hope is that we can continue to afford our health insurance alongside all of the lavish luxuries that we have grown used to, like the mortgage, heat, and food. You know, basically living that Kardashian life.
I want to take a moment to note that my spell check recognizes Kardashian as a word. For funzies (not a recognized word, unfortunately), I looked up synonyms but there were none. I don’t know if that makes me happy or sad.
Since beginning to write this post, I have had another run in with the big bad insurance machine. One of the many pills that my grandmother has to take daily (actually, this one is so important that she has to take it every eight hours, which is three pills a day) was denied by her insurance provider today. It appears that insurance companies have their pharmacists review prescriptions periodically. If they decided that a patient does not require this medication, they will deny the request for the claim.
Just in case you missed it; what I am saying is that there is a person who has never laid eyes on my grandmother, that ISN’T A DOCTOR, that has reviewed some of her medical information and decided that she doesn’t need this medication to live.
You can’t see it, but right now I am cracking a beer, shaking my head, and getting ready to thread some floss through my fingers.