Hmm, I can already tell that the usage of quotations to denote sarcasm is going to be overplayed in this post. I apologize in advance…
So it turns out that my fears were founded. Last year, my company’s HR department went on an all-out blitz to “promote” (warn?) us about the upcoming major overhaul that Aetna was having “for” us, the users. Apparently, the idea that health insurance may not be a 4000% profit margin (yep, that’s an exaggeration) in the coming years due to, in part, the Affordable Care Act, they needed to make sure we understood, in no uncertain terms, that we were nothing but a means to the bottom line for the shareholders…and the shareholders are mad that I might get an even shot at their level of care.
I wish I had the numbers with me right now, they are tucked away on my desk to remind me why I hate being a middle-class white-collar American anymore. I’ll see if I can amend the post with them if I remember to grab it from work tomorrow. The point is, and this is totally verifiable, that in order to stick with the “standard” healthcare plan of simple co-pay’s and using in-network providers, my costs would increase so substantially it would off-set every raise I had gotten since I hired on to this company, setting me back 4 years in personal jog growth…plus some.
Makes me miss that “socialistic” nightmare known as Tri-Care (the healthcare plan that the military has which is so highly touted as the best available in our country, by the same people that hate the idea of socialized healthcare), but I digress…
My other option was to gamble on my health. No seriously, that’s not some clever metaphor, Aetna literally made most of my company decide in about 11 days’ time how much they thought they might need health insurance this year. And not just us, but our families, too. It’s literally playing the market on my healthcare, and if I miss, I’m bankrupt. Again, not a metaphor…there’s a point in the plan that I’m absorbing 100% of any healthcare costs, and it’s completely plausible that I reach that mark in a year, especially with an athletic 9-year old and a 6-year old with an obscenely rare genetic skeletal disorder. It’s not because I don’t work my ass off for a living, or that I’m under-educated or under-motivated…it’s not because I tried to cheat a system and got caught, or tried to skimp out on something…it’s literally…LITERALLY…a point that Aetna’s profit margins are in danger of shrinking.
So, these first 3 months have been stressful. I wasn’t being dramatic when I told the ex that we needed to minimize the risks that the children get hurt and sick. I FEAR FOR MY LIVELIHOOD that one of my family members gets hurt or sick because I’m terrified of the potential costs to me. The idea that the richest and the poorest Americans are living off my back has enraged me more than I can even put into words. But for the most part I’ve just put my nose to the ground and pushed forward, hoping beyond hope that Americans wake up and realize that the only way to fix this is to stop making healthcare a for-profit-only business. The politics of this are obvious, so I’m not going to go there at the moment…right now I’m just making you aware of how bad things are.
Tonight’s rant has been brought to you by my experience just now with the pharmacy. If you know me personally you know that last year was tough, and I needed help getting past it, and I swallowed my pride and got on Wellbutrin (generic, of course) to help me through it. I’m still on it, but getting close to weening off, which is exciting. The crappy thing about Wellbutrin is that when it’s working, you think less about taking it because you feel good…then when I miss a couple days it suddenly hits me and I become very anxious and irritable. That would be me right now. I let the bottle run out on Friday, and it’s now Tuesday and I’m really feeling the push. I went to CVS to fill my last re-upping, no problem there. Or….
CVS calls me a few minutes later to tell me that Aetna has denied my prescription fill. This is the ONLY prescription I’ve had all year (besides little dinky thing, but it’s the only refilling one I have had) and this year I’ve only filled it once before now. So I’m a bit annoyed and surprised about this news. I call Aetna and I’m told that thanks to this new plan I have to refill using mail-order from now on…and I’ve used my option for my one local re-fill. Well, now I have to admit that I’ve backed myself into a corner because it’s dangerous to cold-turkey stop this medication, it can spiral me into depression (oops), but I really didn’t see this coming. I ask the lady on the phone for help to get my out of this pickle, and she says…I am not making this up…that she can give me my ONE LIFETIME WAIVER for a local fill.
Let’s hear that again.
ONCE>>>>>>>>EVER>>>>>>IN MY LIFETIME>>>>>>
I ask her if that’s some weird terminology. I ask her if that means that I need a life-or-death medication in 20 years if that still means I can’t get it and she affirms that yes, I have to mail-order it or pay out-of-pocket, quite matter-of-factually. As if the fact that I’m being railroaded is just another day at the god damn office.
I can’t even figure out why this is a priority? Are they really intent on saving so much with this mail-order scam? No, I don’t believe it in my heart…I truly believe this is more about the idea that if it’s more difficult to do, then maybe I just wont do it. And not doing it increased their profits. Sure, it could make me very sick…physically or mentally…but what does that matter to them? It doesn’t.
So it’s official, if you’re reading this an you’re not insured and you go to the ER for your cold and flu meds…you’re welcome.
If you’re reading this and you’re well off enough that health costs are just a drop in the bucket and therefore reforming it is no concern of yours…you’re welcome.
To the rest of you who work every day to pad the velvet man-panties of the insurance industry and their shareholders, so they can look down on you for asking for healthcare reform so we can live our lives without having to FEAR it, be on notice…you must fight the status quo. If you choose to believe the hyperbole and vote against your best interests because you believe that it will get better because the ads tell you so, then so be it…but eventually you will realize that you are just a second-rate citizen in the eyes of the richest 2%. Your only job that matters is making their live’s better, and it can’t get better while you still believe that.
That’s all for now.