Friday, November 08, 2013

No Debate Here on Health Insurance

This morning we did something surprising: we signed up for health insurance under the Covered California system. It took about half a chatty hour with a charming insurance salesman named Brian, and presto, we're covered as of January 1st, 2014.

After Bernie's job at New United Motors and Manufacturing, Inc (NUMMI) went belly-up, we had an interval of time with a COBRA extension of our health insurance. We applied for continued coverage with the same company so that there would not be any question of concealed health conditions. Well, Health Net really didn't give a shit, and succinctly informed me that they would not cover me at all, even though they had records proving that the herniated disk in my neck was not considered to be worthy of any medical procedure ... Well, they wouldn't unless I was willing to have an MRI done at my own expense and prove that a miracle had happened and the herniation had magically disappeared.  Or unless I was willing to pay more per month for our health insurance than we were taking in from Bernie's retirement.

We opted not to go back on the health insurance grid. Oh well. Since that time, I've incurred $17 a year in flu shots, and needed no other medical treatment, thank God. With the money we didn't spend on health insurance, we could have put a down payment on a modest house. With the money we didn't spend on health insurance, we could pay our mortgage, and eat.

People have really been slamming what they call "Obamacare," virtually pissing all over it and scratching dirt behind them to boot. Yet as of the first of the year, should I get hit by some asshole on her cell-phone while driving her monster SUV, I could actually receive hospital care instead of waving off an ambulance with my broken bones because I have no way of paying big medical bills without re-mortgaging my house, going bankrupt, and putting the whole family into a tiny apartment plus Bern and I going back to work at what would probably be minimum wage part-time jobs. Slam that, haters. I like most of all that the health coverage we're going to get includes screening procedures, like mammograms and colonoscopies. (I've been sitting on an other-shore stash of money for my next colonoscopy -- colon cancer is THE one preventable cancer if you can (so to speak) get your ass to the doctor and have pre-cancerous growths removed -- and with a family history that gives me a one in four chance of developing it, that's an important procedure.) California was one of the few states that opted to use their federally-supplied monies and arrange their own version of health care; as a result, we're not as impacted and messed up as other states who said, "To hell with Obamacare, let the Feds figure it out." Good on you, California.

I'm glad for the time I was without health care, as it has helped me begin to come to terms with my own mortality, and has given me a little clearer sight into the real human condition -- that being covered by health insurance in no way guarantees that you will not die untimely or die pointlessly or die before you think you are ready or deserve to die. Nevertheless, I'm grateful for the coverage that will allow me to receive some sensible care when I need it in the future.


Wendy said...

I agree completely, Sand! And I am very happy to hear you will be getting those all important screenings :)

Cheryl said...

Welcome back to "the system", and its ability to fix things when they are still fixable (like my eyes, and both of our family-history-riddled colons.)

Pete said...

BRAVO. I paid years and years for cadillac health insurance through my employers, and hardly used it. I got sick and lost my job then had no health insurance (for almost four years now I've had a lot of success thank God at my local Free Clinic here. I'm glad there are more options for more of the uninsured now, and am grateful that I now qualify for Medicare A/B (really!). The jury's still out though (for everyone!)