Friday, April 17, 2015

Blue Shield, I Wish I Could Quit You

...and not in a good way. See the earlier post on my tale of woe here.

My story only gets worse. I went through all that heartache--months of trying to enroll in a health insurance plan through Covered California--only to be told, when my kid got sick and I called to get my subscriber number, that I haven't paid for my health insurance. DESPITE THE FACT THAT BLUE SHIELD HAS CASHED MY CHECK. They can't find it. They can't find it! We are two weeks in to another ridiculous hellhole of calling and emailing and getting nowhere. In desperation I took to my long-unused Twitter account to see if I could get their attention. It sort of worked (both Covered CA and Blue Shield responded) but I still have no resolution and they are threatening to terminate my coverage and make me start all over again, which would mean I have now gone two full months without health insurance for my family.

By the way, if I pay over the phone, they say it would still take me two weeks to get membership information and go to the doctor. So if my kids are sick, I am screwed either way. I am going to have to pay out of pocket. Even though I have paid for medical insurance.

I have sent a copy of the endorsed, deposited check, as well as a copy of my bank statement showing that it has been cashed, to the Blue Shield Customer Service department. I have absolutely no faith that they will credit me my hard-earned money or acknowledge that they received it, despite this evidence. They have gone suspiciously silent, one of those "don't call us, we'll call you" dealios. It takes 15-20 minutes to get a live human being on the phone every time I call. Have I mentioned that I work? That I have a husband and a family, and a life? That I can't spend hours every week on hold??

I am going to file a formal complaint with the California Department of Insurance. And I am going to get back on the phone, this time to Kaiser, to see if I can get any kind of HMO coverage at this late date. And I'm applying for a new job elsewhere, first because I want to move on, but second because I need some benefits some kind of way and changing jobs may be the only way to get them.

I would really like to just go lie down somewhere.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Glass is Always Full*

A follow-up to all this health insurance rigmarole:  I discovered Friday that because my employer has been deducting my health insurance premiums through their plan, they deduct them pre-tax. So terminating this overpriced coverage bumped me into a higher tax bracket, which means I have been fighting to get insurance through the marketplace for three months only to find that now that I have done so, it actually puts me in a worse financial position. My take-home pay is higher, but once I pay for my health insurance premiums post-tax, I will actually have less money than had I just left the whole thing alone.

[insert sad trombone music: *womp-womp-WOMP*]

I went home from work Friday night completely defeated. A little angry, but mostly just beaten down, because there is pretty much no hope of me getting a raise at work, since I work at a cash-strapped social services non-profit. Many of the staff here are working multiple jobs to pay their bills. I don’t know anyone who is getting their family’s insurance through the company because it is so cost-prohibitive, and the salary increases we occasionally get do not keep pace with the cost of living.

It is a frustrating position to be in when you believe in the mission of an organization but realize you can’t afford to work there.

So the writing is on the wall. I need to move on. But the 800-dollar question is, to where?

Oh, and by the way, California is running out of water. So there’s also that then. 

But then the world also made this:

Source: Naturally.

So something is going right out there. Right? You think?

* Technically, the glass is not half-empty or half-full. It is always full – half with water, half with air. Didn’t I blow your mind this time? Didn’t I?

Monday, March 23, 2015

This is Not Pinterest

Found--where else?--Pinterest. Originally posted here.
Whenever I sit down to write after a blog absence, I want to be writing about something positive. But today, I am writing because I am really at the end of my rope. I realized that if I wait until something fantastic is happening, I might never get on here. And I realized that the blogs that I read, I generally read because they are helpful, and provide insight, or at least make me laugh. But I also realized that a lot of what we see online makes it appear that everyone’s lives are happy, shiny things and that’s obviously because that’s what people choose to show us—the Pinterest, ApartmentTherapy, Design*Sponge moments where everything is beautiful.

My life is not shiny and happy right now. And I’m not going to act like it is.

I don’t want to get into all the details, naturally, but we currently have no health insurance because I can no longer afford the health insurance my employer offers. I have been struggling for HOURS on the phone and sending documentation to Covered California to get “affordable” health insurance – since December. Yesterday I called Blue Shield to pay my premium for April and for the second time in as many months discovered that they have no record of my application and haven’t received any of the updated information I’ve been sending to Covered California.  

I have been trying to sort this out over the past few months, throughout flu season. Every time one of my kids sneezes I look at her with dread. What if, like last year, Viva got pneumonia? Or something worse? What if one of us develops something serious that needs serious medical care? Last year we dealt with cancer in my family and I thanked God every day for decent insurance. I pray that we stay healthy and that I can sort this insurance fiasco out in the next two weeks. If we don’t have insurance by April 1, I think we are pretty much screwed out of insurance until November. Completely bananas that I have a job—I work full-time—but we are so out here on the edge. I feel angry and somewhat ashamed and then angry again, because it’s not like I haven’t been jumping through every damn hoop they put in front of me.

There’s more to say – health insurance is only one of several issues that are eroding my stomach lining right now – but I will totally fall down the rabbit hole if I get started, and then where will we be?

At any rate:  I feel like we have been going through an extended rough patch which has now lasted years and so I am not posting pretty light-filled things. I am just hanging on, and I know I am not the only one out there.

Written:  March 19, 2015. Posted:  March 23, 2015. Updated Info:  coming soon (one hopes with a bit more zing).