Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We are the norm

This is sort of a hard post to write. My husband said I can write about whatever I want he doesn't care. Just don't make me look like an arsehole he said. What exactly does that mean?
I think he is going to think I am making him look like an asshole with this post. But I'm not. My husband is a hard worker a great father and a loving husband who will do anything for me and the kids. Including let my mother move in with us.
Here is our dirty secret....

We don't have health insurance. It's offered to us through his work. At a whooping $849.00 a month. It doesn't even cover much. So we had to decline it. We even had to sign a statement saying that we declined it. So I thought, I will get a job. I will work for health insurance. I got a part time job. It's all I could get without an education and being out of work for 10 years. A big orange company hired me part time and offered me health insurance. I thought we hit the jackpot!
During the summer I worked almost full time. Insurance cost roughly ninety bucks a week. I had to pay a babysitter at times because of schedule conflicts with Dave but I didn't keep track of what I was paying out. Fall rolled around and hours were cut. Marian got sick and I took her to the Dr. It was the first time I used the insurance. When I produced the card the receptionist smiled at me and said "Yea, you have health insurance now, Mrs. Zawistowski." I have to tell you. I was proud. So proud of the fact that I had insurance and my kid could go to the Dr.
How quickly I deflated when her face fell as she looked at the card. She said," I will submit the bill and we'll see." That was it. End of conversation.
Marian had a virus and they did a strep test.
Six weeks later I get a bill from the insurance company. My portion of the Dr.s visit was $90.00 plus I had to pay for the strep test. The Dr.s visit itself was $120.00. They paid $30.00.
Sometimes I only worked 4 hours at a time. The store reasoned, we will work you a few days a week between 4 and 6 hours. I tried to explain I lived 13 miles away. That was 26 miles round trip. With gas prices it wasn't working. Then I didn't make any money. All my money was going to insurance. Then I didn't have insurance cause I wasn't working my $90.00 a week. Does this make sense? I was driving back and forth to work, paying for gas and a sitter and sometimes not getting any money at the end of week because I owed for back insurance. That I couldn't use. I was really confused.
This caused major strife in our lives. I kept telling Dave we HAVE TO HAVE health insurance. I couldn't see the big picture. We didn't have it. I worked all summer and lost money. After we sat down and went through receipts we figured I spent at the least$1,500.00 going to work. Holy fricken hand job.

I quit my job.

We can't get insurance just on our children. Even though the state of Maine said, and I quote, " No child shall go uninsured." Mine are. We make more that fifty eight thousand a year. That's the cut off. That's before taxes. After taxes we don't. That doesn't count. We have four kids. Just because one is over 18 doesn't mean we don't help her or we never buy her anything. "Excuse me child, your over 18 we must never help you, now get out of our house." Yes, I'm being Sarcastic.
A side note. Maine's Next Generation, the college fund you pay for now while the kids are small so they can go to college later, you have to make under fifty eight thousand dollars..... Yeah, that's right. Just telling you so you know. Also the "Gear up" program. You have to qualify for free or reduced lunch.

What's a family to do? I have a husband who feels like he's failing because we don't have insurance. Society makes it that way. My husband has a wife that lays awake at night and thinks of things like, what if the Dr. tells us on of our babies has cancer and they can't help us cause we don't have any money. This does happen. I've seen it.

Every time we spend a dollar in the back of our minds we are thinking what if someone gets sick. Two weeks ago our daughter was sick and thankfully she was okay. I wanted to bring her to the doctor but couldn't. So we waited it out. She is allergic to penicillin products as well as macrobiotics. When she gets ill it is a guessing game of what to give her. Not only that but most of the time it has to be administered at the hospital which they charge you for or at the doctors office with an ambulance on stand by. And what they give her, nothing is generic and costs a fortune.

I'm not telling you all of this for pity. Don't think that. What I'm saying is this is the norm. People out there that have good insurance need to realize how fortunate they are. It's not normal.. That's all

I have to add this in. After I wrote this I lost one person who followed me and everyone else seems to pity me. It's not like that. We could pay for health insurance. We just would have to go without other things. Some of them are more important than others but we could do it. I'm just trying to be honest. I like that, honesty. It's important to me. I want to thank the gals who sent info of where to look for info. I'll check it out. What I won't take is any form of welfare. We don't need welfare. Our bills are all paid and paid on time. Our kids have everything they need. Just don't ask them because thay will tell you they don't have a wii and everyone else has one. I just wanted to throw that in cause I can see my husbands blood pressure starting to rise after he reads this....Ha HA hee Hee


FishermansDaughter said...

Having been on both sides of the have/have not health insurance/money issue I understand. As far as I'm concerned, one of the biggest head hanging shames of our nation are the vast numbers of people who go without the most basic standard of care. I'm so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this. Having worked for a community mental health agency where the majority didn't have health insurance (you're right it's the norm), they were referred to the state department of health and human services. I g*ogled for Maine and came up with 1-877-543-7669. They should be able to recommend a program or direct you to local doctors who offer a sliding fee scale relative to level of income. Hope everyone is feeling better soon.

Stacy D. Briefing said...

I too am so sorry you have this burden upon you! I do know that most doctors/dentist offices are supplied by Pharm. Reps with free samples of the latest/greatest drugs from time to time. Most doctors are happy to give you samples if they have them. (And if you ask. Otherwise, often times they don't offer.) I've asked before for samples of expensive prescriptions, it saved me a fortune! Also, in the past when hit with high medical bills, I have had to call and ask for a monthly payout schedule. Our hospital and doctor's office both agreed to this arrangement(often stretching the payments out to a year and beyond). Hope this too helps.

Mama Goose said...

I am so sorry you have to spend even one second worrying about this. I know nothing about it, but does the Dirigo plan offer anything that can help you? I wish I had something more to offer or to help you worry less...

Wendy said...

Well, we never qualify for anything either, because we make "too much" money - even when my other two children lived at home, and there were seven of us.

Luckily, we do have insurance, and it's really good, but my husband's company is having "issues" right now, and they aren't paying the premiums. So, who knows? We're living just below our means right now (which means we have plenty to eat, all of our bills are paid, and we're starting to have just a bit left over - BUT, we don't use heating oil anymore, drive as little as we can, are very careful about shopping, don't use the dryer, buy second-hand ... in short, we're pretty frugal), and I can't imagine what would happen if we had to also pay for our own health insurance. Ack! What a nightmare that would be.

Anyway, I've thought a lot about it, and I think medical insurance is one of the biggest scams going. It's a racket, which really p*ss*s me *ff! How does it cost the doctor $120 to see me or one of my children for five minutes? I've been considering going back to school to be a Physician's Assistant and opening up a private clinic where I DON'T take any sort of insurance, and my clients pay however they can - cash, barter, trade ... :). Wouldn't that really throw those insurance companies into a tizzy if more doctors did that :)?

carsick said...

I agree with you 100%. Dave always is saying he should go to school for that. Health care stinks in this country. I feel bad for the doctors. Most doctors go to school to become doctors to help people not make them sicker because they are worrying how they are going to pay them.

KimberlyDi said...

Sorry for not posting for awhile. I was unable to see the word verification. I just found out that if I logged into gmail first, then visited here, that I could see that word verification. Hurrah!

I'm insured but each year the insurance covers less and less. My last visit, they charged me $130 because I hadn't reached my deductible yet.

I've been without insurance before and it is very scary.