Upon learning of another friend applying for Medicaid, I thought my income would probably qualify me for help. I won’t go into specifics about the amount of money I make, but let’s say I know how to budget myself VERY well and I’m incredibly lucky to have friends who look out for me a Bear who treats me…real nice.
I applied for Medicaid and somehow was not qualified. Or at least I don’t think I’m qualified. The Medicaid website shows my application is still processing but the HealthCare Marketplace shows I was denied.
So, I decided to try and apply for straight health insurance today.
It took me 20 minutes and a phone call to log into the damn HealthCare Marketplace system because they changed all the passwords due to a security breach. The link they were emailing me with my new password wasn’t working. It took the agent on the phone resetting my account, which she did and was very nice about it, in order to get me to my application. The lady on the phone explained that people can only apply for the new health care system during certain periods of time, and we are currently outside of the time frame. However, because I was recently divorced and lost my health insurance through marriage, I could apply for “special circumstances.” This would allow me to then apply for health insurance before the next time frame starting on Novemebr 1.
Once I got into the system, it took me in a fun little circle. First I started applying for special circumstances. Then I was prompted to log-in again (maybe for security, like eBay or Amazon). The log-in took me back to the home screen, where I then began trying to apply for special circumstances again…
This went on for about three go-rounds before I called back for more help.
A gentleman explained to me how to apply for special circumstances again. I began the process while on the phone with him and as soon as I thought that I had it, I let him go.
Then my computer went to a blank screen. Never to return. No matter how many times I re-opened the screen and tried to log back into the Marketplace, blank screen.
THEN I went to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield website in hopes that I could get private insurance, which promptly took me BACK into the HealthCare Marketplace I was trying to access moments earlier. I found a single, solitary plan I could “afford.” (I budget myself incredibly well, but I really have very little leftover each month for “fun extras” like mandatory health insurance.) So I clicked on it only to learn that the plan would not cover my orthopedic surgeon, who I have to continue seeing once a month through the rest of the year to ensure my bone heals. This means I will be paying out of pocket for my surgeon (and that out-of-pocket money goes towards the mere $6,000 deductible associated with the plan) plus $250/month for health insurance coverage. The coverage literally “covers” nothing before I pay off the deductible. So I pay $250/month to be given the HONOR of paying $6,000 before anything else is covered. That’s $9,000 a year for those math junkies out there.
Can’t swing that.
Then I saw a teeny, tiny button on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield website offering a government subsidy for health care. I clicked it and was taken to a “find out if you qualify” screen. I entered my income, child support, age, and sex. I QUALIFIED! HUZZAH! Nearly 70% of my healthcare costs would be COVERED!!! All I have to do is click here…click…click here…click…where do I click?
Oh I don’t click anywhere because the only thing this particular nifty little webpage does is tell you whether or not you qualify for government subsidy not how to apply for it and as it turns out there’s no fucking way to apply for it.
Let me back up. I literally make my living on the internet. I am well-versed in navigating difficult websites and when I don’t understand something, I know how to google it until I figure it out. Have you ever read a book with a dictionary sitting next to you because you have to stop every 10 lines to look something up? It was like that. Except the dictionary didn’t have any of the words from the book.
Then my phone started ringing. I currently have 15 missed calls from agents across the country trying to “help me” with my health insurance. I also have 4 emails from “Peter” who is excited to help me get health insurance. Maybe they’re all really nice people who just want to help me? I don’t know. Mama always taught me if an unknown number calls during dinner time, they’re selling something.
Finally, I decided I simply can’t afford health insurance. I will just pay for my medical needs out of pocket as I need to. EXCEPT THAT THEN!!! Then I learned that I am actually going to be PENALIZED for not having health insurance. My taxes will reflect a penalty charge for every month that I’m not covered. And what’s the penalty charge amount?
Your guess is as good as mine.
The figures I found ranged from $0 based on income, to $95/person per month, to a flat $3000. I still have no idea how to figure out which one was right.
In the end, Bear quite unceremoniously proposed to me in the kitchen with a piece of pizza just so I could get healthcare coverage. This may literally be my only option.
In the end, a great old friend who happens to work in healthcare in DC gave me some pertinent phone numbers and websites to begin again tomorrow, and also some helpful details that will make dealing with this all over again tomorrow a little bit easier. Here are the phone numbers and websites he gave to me in case you can use them:
Special Enrollment Period