Our Medical Insurance Is Gone

Yesterday was the last day that DD and I had medical insurance. Today, we join the 50-million American who lack medical insurance.

After COBRAing for three years (from my CA job), I couldn’t keep it up any more. It was going to end at the end of December anyway. But the cost got so high (over $1,200) that I finally had to give it up. For the past year, and especially the past few months, I have been looking for new medical insurance, but there is nothing to be had.

I Am Un-Insurable

I am self-employed. I can afford to buy health insurance, if I can get it at a decent price. But here is the problem…I am un-insurable. Before my bariatric surgery, nobody would insure me because of my obesity. Now, even though I have lost a bunch of weight, nobody will sell me medical insurance because I had the surgery. Isn’t that stupid and illogical?

I could try to find a job that offers medical insurance, but patent agent jobs around here are few and far between.

DD Is Un-Insurable

I can’t buy DD her own medical insurance, since nobody in Kansas will insure a child by themselves and I’m not allowed to buy medical insurance out of state.

What About Obama Care?

We have considered Obama Care. However, Obama Care has a 6-month no insurance waiting period. Since we can’t get any other medical insurance, DD and I will have to wait the 6-months. Hopefully we will be able to get on Obama care in May 2012.

But, if the republicans have their way, Obama Care won’t be there by then. Or, if it is still there, they will take it away as soon as possible. They don’t seem to be concerned about people who cannot buy medical insurance (even if they want to buy it). I guess they just expect us to crawl under a rock and die.

What If We Get Sick?

If DD or I need to go to the doctor, we will just have to pay full price for it, including any tests and/or medications. This is going to be really painful.

I have terrible allergies and asthma. In order to breath normally and not get sick all of the time, I have to take a lot of meds, get allergy shots every week and see the allergist every 6-months or so (which includes having lung function tests). I have a few other meds that I need to take as well. DD needs meds for allergies and acne.

I discussed losing our medical insurance with my allergist’s billing person, and learned that the insurance companies wouldn’t let them give a price break of people with no insurance. The insurance companies had set the prices they could charge in their contracts.

I went to fill our prescriptions last night. While I was at the pharmacy, I explained to the pharmacist that we wouldn’t have medical insurance anymore and that we would have to start paying full price. The pharmacist said that he was really sorry and our drugs were going to be really expensive from now on. Even though we buy a lot of generics, some of our meds don’t come in generic form. And while the actual total price for a generic price is cheaper than name brand, the price is still a pretty high.

I am really concerned that there will be some sort of medical disaster, like a catastrophic illness or an accident. To take care of that, I have purchased some catastrophic medical indemnity policies. They aren’t medical insurance, but like Aflac they pay you a little after you have paid the catastrophic medical bills. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

So now what? There isn’t much else that I can do about this. All we can do is try to stay healthy, pray that nothing bad happens, and be even more careful with our money.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Allergies may be relieved by large doses of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is cheaper and safer than medications. I am on a megadose for another reason and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I no longer needed antihistamine. I also avoid colds and flu in this way.

    1. Eleanor

      Thank you for your kind suggestion.

      However, while a little extra vitamin C is OK for a short period of time, I’m no so sure mega doses are such a good idea.
      * Scientific data indicates that “supplementing the diets of adults with asthma with antioxidants (e.g., Vit. C) and lipids has minimal, if any, clinical benefit: (Proc Nutr Soc. 2010 Feb;69(1):1-10. Epub 2009 Dec 8; Devereux G.).
      * Upon searching the scientific literature, I could find no data that indicated that large doses of Vit. C alleviated the need for antihistamines or other allergy medications.
      * Also, it is well known that (1) since Vit C is a water-soluble, you excrete excess in your urine, and (2) excessive intake of Vit. C lowers the bio-availability of iron. Also, there is a long list of side effects of large doses of Vit. C, such as an acid reflux and diarrhea.

  2. Carolyn

    We are also a family of uninsured. Barbara is right. Vit C is very helpful. Vit D3 is also extremely helpful. I used to purchase it alt the natural food stores until my hubs became one of the unemployed. Now we pick it up at Walmart. It has been phenomenal for us. My hubs HAD horrible asthma. He has kicked the inhaler over 3 years ago (he is in his 50’s) and has used one most of his life. He also drinks a homemade drink made from sea salt to support his adrenals. The only prescriptions we have now are thyroid hormone. His health has improved dramatically since kicking the pharmacuitical-go-round. There is a silver lining in this dark cloud over your head. It will just take you some time to sift through it all and find answers.

    Small amounts of zinc work wonders for acne. 5 kids through the teen years has been proof for me. Look for real, whole foods high in zinc instead of a single supplement for your DD.

    Best of wishes for you both on this journey!!

    1. Eleanor

      Thank you for your kind thoughts and suggestions. I will consider these things, review the scientific literature, and proceed cautiously. Unfortunately, I have found that many “natural” cures turn out to be worse than the disease because I am allergic to something in the treatment. Also, being a biochemist with many years of experience in medical research, I am uncomfortable with most hear-say results.

      One thing that worries me about herbals is they really do contain pharmaco-active ingredients (plants are where many drugs come from to begin with). And here is the problem. Many of these active ingredients aren’t well known, there is no control over the amount of the ingredient in the medicament, and they can react with other pharmaco-active compounds that you may be taking. I worry about this because most people assume that these products are safe and have no idea that there is a serious potential for injury. Also, I have encountered a few sellers of such products that are only interested in making a buck and are totally ignorant about their own products.

      In any case, I certainly appreciate your encouragement and thoughtful advice. It is certainly nice to have some sympathy. I am sure there are many more people out there who could use similar kind words and support. I wish that I could whip out my magic wand and fix everyone’s problems. Too bad life isn’t that easy.

  3. kitsapFG

    I hope the health care legislation benefits can survive the radical right wing onslaught – so that you and millions like you can have access to healthcare insurance. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you and also that in the meantime you and your DD stay reasonably healthy to get through the six month wait period without incident.

    1. Eleanor

      Thanks for your kind thoughts. I hope you and your family are well.

      And I agree with you. There are a lot of people out there would would love to purchase medical insurance and have the means, but, for one reason or another, can’t get it. I sure do pray that Obama care (or something) will be there in 6-months. But, I’m not holding my breath. I am pessimistic about the powers that be in Washington. They act like a bunch of ideologue toddlers having temper tantrums. I don’t foresee them getting much done unless some grownup gets in there and gives them a pop of the bottom. But, like that is going to happen… not likely. :(

      It is my personal belief that insurance companies are like most businesses once it reaches a certain size. They are mostly concerned about making the largest profit possible TODAY, and never think about the long term. For example, with my bariatric surgery, right now they wouldn’t have to spend any more on me than they have previously, and over time the costs will decrease due to my continued weight loss and improving health (no more CPAP, fewer allergies, asthma mostly going away, etc.). Already my risk of sudden death has decreased dramatically, my knees and back aren’t constantly killing me, and I can do aerobics and zumba. But, one thing I learned working In-house for a couple of biotech companies is that they make “business decisions” that may not make any sense to the rest of us.

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