Health insurance was a huge factor in our decision to move. By choosing to leave Microsoft, we chose to leave what I can only assume is one of the best health insurance plans offered by any company in the U.S. Everything was covered, with no copays. I know of several Microsoft families who had insanely expensive medical situations—long term hospital stays, babies in the NICU, etc—with bills that hovered close to the million-dollar mark or more, and every dime was paid for.
We knew we couldn’t expect the same situation at a different company, and JB’s new health plan will cost us quite a bit out of pocket each month. It’s not ideal, but the ability to chase down our dreams was worth it.
The problem is, the insurance doesn’t kick in for 90 days after his employment starts. Okay, so there’s COBRA, right? Except COBRA costs $1700 per month for us to continue our same coverage.
But what other option do we have? I have a monthly prescription for a chronic health condition that affects me pretty much not at all in my daily life, except I take a medication to manage it, and without the meds, I up my chances of experiencing certain progressive symptoms. You know, such as, for instance, oh, say, DEATH.
My pills cost over $2,000 per month, so it’s not really something I could pay out of pocket instead of paying COBRA. Plus, there’s the situation of losing coverage for more than 5 seconds which allows every subsequent provider to turn you down because ♫ pre-existing condiiiiiiition!
So it’s COBRA or private insurance, and private plans seem to be a bust so far (how about $900 per month and we’ll pay 50% of your prescription costs? Oh, let’s see, carry the FUCK, I guess not), but the problem is that there’s this period between when employer coverage ends (JB’s last day at Microsoft) and COBRA picks up (hopefully very soon, now that we spent $50 overnighting our $1700 check to them?). And that’s exactly when my goddamned prescription needed a refill and the nice Walgreens lady said, oh, hmmm, it says here you’ve been denied coverage?
I tell you this just so I can rant somewhere, to someone, about the deeply painful fuck-upedness of our healthcare system and how it keeps people from taking chances on new jobs and starting their own businesses and sometimes kills people stone cold fucking dead because they can’t afford what they need. I’m lucky that we can go and put a $2000 prescription on our credit card, if we have to, and hope like hell COBRA reimburses us, but what a ridiculous situation. What a shitty deal it is to be waiting for a phone call from my doctor to advise me on the risk of a short-term treatment interruption. What a broken, stupid system where providers are doing everything they can to get out of paying what they’re supposed to, pharmaceutical companies are charging criminally inflated prices for life-saving drugs, and thousands upon thousands have no healthcare whatsoever.
Also, I feel guilty. You know? Or maybe you don’t, I’m not saying it makes sense. But I feel guilty that I am the one causing our family all this expense and worry and it just doesn’t seem like it should have to be this goddamned hard.