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Not Political But - Fruit of the Vine
Here There Be Goblins

Date: 2014-01-27 23:48
Subject: Not Political But
Security: Public
Location:Orcas Island
Tags:health, money, rant

I’m not terribly political and this is not a blog about current events or political stuff because I’m just not a news junkie and frankly I don’t pay much attention but…

And yet I’m reasonably intelligent and kinda sorta informed about what’s going on around me and am hyper-organized and on top of finances and the grown-up details that have to be dealt with but…

Wow it’s been a frustrating day.

As a freelancer, I’ve had to buy my own health insurance since I left my day job, at the end of 2009. Individual health care is expensive!! Even much crappier health care than I got for free when I worked for the Massive Bureaucracy. But, I bought it, and I was glad I could do so, even though it cost a fortune.

So, Affordable Care Act, yay!

By happy coincidence, Mark moved in with me October 1 of last year–the first day you could sign up for an ACA program. We registered as domestic partners in our county and went straight out to Kaiser Permanente (where we’d both had individual plans, and wanted to stay with them), and tried to sign up for a together-plan.

Kaiser sent us to a broker.

The broker explained that she could put us on a together-plan, which would cost roughly the same as our two individual plans combined (which was a bummer), but, in just three months, everything was changing, because ACA, yay! All plans would be individual, with subsidies based on income. Which, ahem, for us, was even more yay.

Great! we said. Sign us up!

We went through scads of paperwork, forms, signatures, urgent phone calls from the broker and from Cover Oregon when we were in the middle of other things, etc etc. We were told we were approved and our new plans would start in the new year.

And of course the whole ACA implementation has been a gigantic clusterfuck, and nobody’s plans started in the new year, and it’s all chaos. And here we are away from the house (and the mail), not knowing what’s going on. So I called the broker at the new year, and she assured me that we’re in, but that we should extend our old Kaiser plan for a few months so there’s no gap in coverage; I called Kaiser and did that. At, of course, the old we-can’t-really-afford-this prices.

And last weekend, we got all our mail! Yay! Fully half of it seemed to be health-care related.

Weeding through it yesterday, I found some strange things. “Approved on January 1!” cards. “Approved on January 10!” cards. New Kaiser cards, with our old numbers on them. And, “Welcome to this plan you’ve never heard of and didn’t ask for!” letters.

So of course at 2am I woke up and had to angst about it for an hour or so, because brains are stupid.

This morning I called the broker. She was surly and annoyed, and said she couldn’t help me, but she’d give me the number to call. She sent a xerox of the same info in several of these letters.

I started making phone calls. Well, trying to.

One Cover Orgeon number puts you on hold forever (I mean, HOURS, literally). A second one has a recorded message to the effect of, “We’re too busy, call some other time.” Kaiser has the same message… “your call isn’t important to us, please go away.” The new plan we didn’t ask for did answer their phone; the nice lady there was perplexed, and gave us another Cover Oregon number that doesn’t work.

Near as I can tell, we’re currently enrolled in both Too Expensive Kaiser and Plan We Don’t Want (which I have no idea how much it costs). Supposedly, we qualify for Affordable Kaiser, but there’s no way to make this so. February 1 will roll around and Too Expensive Kaiser will grab another four or five freelance jobs-worth of money out of the bank account, unless I can find a human being to address this. (You can’t do it on the website: it’s phone numbers only.)

I’m frustrated to the point of tears. I worked all day on this (while also trying to get other things done, like cleaning guest rooms and, you know, freelance work to earn the money to pay for all this.) I’m going to bed now. Oh well, at least we have health coverage. No MONEY, but at least we’re covered.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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User: scarlettina
Date: 2014-01-28 14:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so sorry to hear that it's been so difficult and frustrating.I'm glad you're covered, but I hope you can untangle the mess with less frustration than you had today.
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calendula_witch: Entangled
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2014-01-29 07:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you! Jeez, what a mess. Progress today, maybe... :/
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