I’m unemployed and therefore, I’m currently, technically without health care coverage. It sucks. It stresses me out and I want it to end. Today.

But I have to wait.

Until all the powers that be decide what options they are willing to offer me.

First, there’s COBRA which basically lets you continue the coverage you had at your job. BUT, you have to pay full price. So instead of about $150/month, I would have to start paying over $1000/month.

There are state and government programs right now that reduce your COBRA payments significantly, because I guess they finally realized that unemployed people can’t pay a full price premium. But, it’s a WHOLE LOT of paperwork.

I don’t mind paperwork, if it means I can pay my $150/month again. But, I have the added complication that my company is currently circling the bowl and I think there is a real possibility they may go bankrupt. And if they no longer exist, then neither does my COBRA.

So, all that paperwork would be a HUGE waste of my time.

I have until November to figure out if I want to take the COBRA coverage or not, so I’m waiting on that decision to see if the company still exists by then. However, by the time November rolls around, I will owe four months of payments or exactly $4543.44.

Or a $1,000 more than what is currently in my checking account.

YIKES. Let’s hope I have a job by then.

My other option is that I can apply for state coverage. Which I have done and I am now waiting to hear what I’ve won! Um, I mean, qualify for.

This process takes approximately 8-10 weeks. I’m on week 6 or 7 now. At this point they can confirm that they have my paperwork, but will need another 3-4 weeks of time to figure out what level of coverage I qualify for (80% reimbursement OR free).

The good people at the MSP office have assured me that if I need medical attention between now and when they get around to covering me, I can submit those invoices for reimbursement–which will take another 8-10 weeks to process (more paperwork!). Yippee! Because I have all the money in the world right now to pay an emergency room visit or hospital stay should the need arise.

Unsettling. Stressful.

And so, I’m thinking about wrapping my daughter, husband and I in bubble wrap while we wait. To hear. If we’ll have health coverage or not.

Because I lost my job. From a company that couldn’t afford to pay employees anymore. Not any fault of mine.

Ironic that filing for unemployment was a breeze–make a phone call, sign up for an account on-line and viola, payments start to appear in your checking account in about three weeks. I go on-line once a week to confirm that I’m still unemployed and if I do that on Sunday, I’m paid on Monday.

A-MAZINGLY EFFICIENT.

So, why do I have to jump through so many hoops to get affordable health care? Why is there so much paperwork to process before an answer is given? What are those paperwork people being paid? How many people have to review my application before it is approved?

Call me crazy, but it seems like it would be a whole lot smoother a process if health insurance wasn’t attached to your employer. If it didn’t matter where you worked. If you just paid a tax instead of deducting premiums from your paycheck.

Eek gads! Did I say tax?

Don’t hate me because I’m right.

I’m unemployed. I should spend all my time looking for a new job, but instead, I spend several hours a week, following up on health insurance paperwork and retelling my situation to people who I’m not sure even know what they are talking about. And because I don’t trust them, I call and get new people and ask them the same questions–just to be sure I get the same answers. And I don’t always get the same answers. So then I have to call a third person and see which answer is the most popular. And then I’m still nervous that the least popular answer is the right one.

Damn it.

I was for health care reform before this happened to me. But now I can tell you first hand that the current system sucks and something has got to change.  Because you could loose your job tomorrow and be in the same boat. You could be healthy today and sick tomorrow and be in the same boat.

We’re all in the same boat.

Don’t be selfish because you have good health care and don’t want to pay for everybody else (you already do, BTW). Don’t be scared of change (scared people make insurance company lobbyists very happy). Don’t delude yourself with the idea that things are just fine and everything should just stay the way it is. It doesn’t work.

It really doesn’t work.

Advertisements