I Think Fate Reads This Blog

22 Nov

In Monday’s post, I said that I was thankful for times of ill health because they reminded me that good health is not guaranteed.

Boy, did that one come back to test me quickly.

On Tuesday evening, my roommate came into the living room complaining of abdominal pain.  Within an hour and a half, we were sitting in the Emergency Department with a plastic basin and a fairly judgmental audience.

Here’s the kicker- my roommate doesn’t have health insurance.  She’s stuck in that terrible time frame between being approved for a plan and the effective date.  If this had happened just nine days later, she would have been able to show her insurance card and get a mere $150 ER copay bill.  As it stands now, she’s likely to get a bill for over $6,000 (CT scans don’t come cheap, you know).

Just nine days later, and her kidney stone would have been covered by insurance.  Her prescriptions would have been covered too, and the $220 total for pain meds & six (six!!) anti-nausea pills would have been a tenth of that.  Instead, I have two unfilled prescriptions sitting on the kitchen table and a roommate taking pain medication left over from a separate injury.

Three months ago, it was me in health insurance limbo, praying that I didn’t get sick or injured in the six weeks between aging off my dad’s plan and the effective date of my employer’s insurance plan.  I just barely made it though.  I used my new insurance plan ten days after it went into effect, after a plane trip caused my ear drum to burst.  My insurance company covered my doctor visit and my two resulting prescriptions.  I won’t be seeing a bill for any of those.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  But it shouldn’t have to be that way.

So, maybe I’m not thankful for times of illness today.  I am not thankful for people having to wait for effective dates to get health care.  I am not thankful for people facing eighteen hour waits at inner-city EDs just to be seen by a doctor.  And I am not thankful for huge bills being levied on those least able to pay.

What I am thankful for is that after seven hours in the ED, my roommate was discharged and is doing well.  I’m thankful that in nine days, she will be covered by health, vision, and dental insurance.  I’m especially thankful that we live in an area where the local hospital can see uninsured patients who won’t be able to pay their bills, and still keep their doors open.

Heck, I’m even thankful for the intent behind the Healthcare Reform Act- that quality health care access should not be tied to economic privilege.  (I say intent, because I’ve read the Healthcare Reform Act.  I’ve read four incarnations of it, actually.  It doesn’t ensure quality health care access to everyone, not in its current form.  I am holding out hope that this changes through the amendment process and soon, which either makes me an eternal optimist or a masochist.)

I suppose my ultimate point today is the same as Monday- that I’m trying to be thankful for the good as well as the bad.  It’s sometimes harder to do this than others, but if I can’t accomplish it today, on the ultimate day of Giving Thanks, then there might be less hope for me than for Congressional consensus (oooh, political zingers.)

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2 Responses to “I Think Fate Reads This Blog”

  1. Michael McPherson December 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Don’t know what your state laws are, but in Maine (where I am), if you fall below median income, you qualify for decreased payment, and if you’re below the poverty line (like I am), the amount dismissed can get pretty big. Something to look into.

    • Katie December 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      My grad loans are on an income-based repayment plan, and I don’t have a monthly payment due on them until November 2013. I don’t think there are any forgiveness programs based on income in Georgia, and I’m above the poverty line (if just barely) in any case. But thanks for the tip- it could be helpful for people in other states.

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