Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Complications of the Chronically Uninsured

Its been two and a half three months since I was laid off, and I'm still unemployed. Being home all the time is starting to feel normal and I can almost not remember what its been like to be going to work every Monday through Friday. But I desperately miss it. Its been driving me crazy to not have a job and reliable source of income. I've been making it with my normal bills, sometimes just barely, but still making it. The part that really worried me the most about not working, is being uninsured. I knew with unemployment money and my school loans being on deferrment I'd be ok for a while financially. I mean, I wouldnt be paying things off on it, but I wouldnt be going under either. However the cost of COBRA for my insurance was too much to even consider, sadly. I've been applying for jobs, waiting for calls, hoping to hear from people and watching my various prescriptions dwindle...

The cost of the actual prescription is not what was worrisome, its the fact that said prescription (most unfortunately it would HAVE to be the Mobic...) had no refills and I had none on hold at the pharmacy either. As I've mentioned previously, I've recently gone through a complete Dr overhaul. Problem is, I'd not yet seen either of my new dr's before my insurance ran out. I called my old Rhuematologist hoping he'd take pity on me and my situation and call in a refill. They're usually so accommodating and helpful, however this time not so much. I hadn't been in to see him since July, so he said he couldn't refill it for me. They did suggest I call my PCP, that they would probably call it in for me. However since my old PCP's office spitefully shuffled my file before handing it over, I didn't really see that happening.

I'd already rescheduled one appointment with my new Rhuematologist, because of the whole no insurance thing, and the fact that my "new patient" appointment would cost me around $280. So I call up my new PCP's office to state my dilemma and hopefully ask if they may be able to do anything. They check their records and find that they didn't have my medical records yet. Oops! I forgot to drop them off... I told them I had them and could stop over with them, so I did. They left a note on my file for the Dr, took my number and said they'd see what he said. Near the end of office hours the next day (when I knew they wouldnt be calling it in after that time) I call the pharmacy, as I'd not heard from the dr, to see if it was in. I was told they'd called it in the day before. YAY!! I'm so thankful for an understanding Dr and his office staff (no rudeness at all!) There was even a refill.

So that saved me the $180 it would have cost to go in for an office visit with him. Which is more than I wish to part with at one time now that I'm jobless... I've been very blessed. As I said above, the cost of filling it wasn't something I was concerned about. Giant Eagle is still running their $4 month/ $10 for 90days on certain  generic medications, and all of mine are on the list. It's saved me a ton of money and stress over how I'd be able to pay for everything.

I'm sure a lot of you know the fear of "what if I get sick?". This is only intensified when you don't have insurance for when those what ifs become reality. My flare ups (the big ones, I don't count the mini's) are intense and brutal, and the last one had me in the ER with 104 temps, 130+ heart rate, pain in my side, and chest pain when I took a deep breath, or cough, or sneeze...Turns out I had pneumonia on top of everything else, as well as some kidney problems. After the ER I had a visit with my Rhuematologist, who sent me to the Cleveland Clinic for a second opinion, etc... Needless to say, the copays and deductibles I racked up (and am still paying for...) were high enough... I can't imagine having to worry about how I'd pay off the whole thing. And as one month turned to two, and then three I had to face the fact that I needed to get something, "just in case". It's been nearly a year since my change in diagnosis, and last flare up. break for happy dance :). But this disease is not well documented and very unpredictable, and I don't want to be in the middle of feeling completely crappy when I finally face the fact I have to do something.

Sadly, I'm over the age that I'd be able to be put back on my moms insurance, as the new healthcare bill allows. Missed it by a month...dang it. Technically Gov. Rendell passed a similar bill for the state of PA that allows it for children up to age 30, but its left to the discretion of the employer to decide if they'll allow it or not, and my moms does not. So I moved on to looking online for a cheap policy that would help. Not only was I unable to find one that would cover what I needed, as well as not be disqualified because of preexisting conditions, but now I get a ton of junk calls from random insurance agents. While they've tapered off (had been at least one, sometimes more a day) I'm still getting at least one a month.

I keep praying that I'll find a new job soon. One that I'll love as much and more as the last one, and that will have the benefits I so desperately need. Theres still one out there that I applied for that hasn't yet been filled, and another that I know people have been recommending me for. I hope to hear from either soon. Disappointment and hope. Two warring emotions that have been competing for my time and attention. Neither of which I have time for. The dance over which one will win is exhausting. Hope often wins, but lately the disappointment has been creeping in to overcome it. Its a waiting game, and I'm finding my patience for it is waning thin.

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