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.


114 Responses to “One nation, divisible”

  1. Gwen on May 19th, 2012 2:22 pm

    We honestly can’t afford private insurance or COBRA, my fiance’s insurance starts in July but obviously I can’t be on it since we’re not married. He has a knee issue which he’s just hoping he can live with until July (his job is physically demanding) and lately I’ve been showing all the symptoms of CHF (shortness of breath, severe edema, which I recognize since I have a history of it-although this time it’s unusual since I’m not pregnant which is the only time I’ve had it) and have been reluctant to go to the ER since I am uninsured. I’m sure that people will be all Judgy McJudgement pants about this but whatever.

  2. Gwen on May 19th, 2012 2:26 pm

    *I meant to say can’t afford private and do not qualify for COBRA..oops*

  3. Michele R. on May 19th, 2012 5:36 pm

    Lots of good suggestions here. I wanted to add that the 4 of you in your family each have his/her own individual right to elect. So if you are the only one who needs to be covered right away, just elect the COBRA for you and it is less than the $1,700–perhaps. That is if your Hubs’ ex-employer has the plan set up that way. If this is the case and you have already elected for the whole family, you can write and state that you are rescinding electing COBRA for the other 3 in your family. You can do this during that 60 day decision time. Then, find something individual and inexpensive for the other 3.

  4. aviva on May 20th, 2012 8:17 am

    This is one of the many reasons we’ve got to re-elect President Obama in September, people! Don’t expect the Republicans to give a damn (or a dime) for a decent health-care system in this country!

  5. Tammy on May 25th, 2012 1:54 pm

    HAD to comment when I read the comment of the chick that lived in England and some of her neighbors died waiting for procedures.
    1) Where the heck did she live that her neighbors were dropping like flies?
    2) I call BULLPUCKY! I lived in the UK for 30 years I have family there now. Yes there are waiting lists for some ELECTIVE procedures (i.e knee replacement, hip replacement etc). Anything life threatening is dealt with straight away. In fact they have recently passed a mandate that if you find a suspicious lump, it has to be seen and assessed within two weeks.
    Makes me mad when people spout off these fake horror stories. This is the reason people believe republican ‘death panel’ bullcrap and why they vote for said idiots…and the reason we don’t have a single payer or double payer system…and the reason millions of people have no health coverage at all.
    Rant over.

  6. Me on May 26th, 2012 8:30 am

    What would you do if your meds didn’t exist, my dear? What would any of your f’d-up friends do without their meds? And you want everyone else to pay for your problems? No thanks. We’re not your nanny. Microsoft and other companies of that ilk have perpetuated the entitlement state that Obampster and his cronies want all of us to pay for. Your foreign friends think their healthcare system is great until they need something major done and then they come here. What a crock.

  7. Me...again on May 26th, 2012 11:13 am

    Apologies. Your post caught me in a bad mood. I just don’t like the government anymore in my life than it must be and I grow tired of the welfare state we’re in. I sympathize with you as my partner is on meds that cost him as much as yours without the insurance.

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    What’s up, I log on to your blog on a regular basis. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

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