Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catch 22

This is a space free of politics and policy, for the most part.

This post is personal and it is about policy, and probably politics. It is slightly woe is me, so if you aren't into that, don't read on. I just can't move forward in this blog without admitting that my life isn't all yarn and hooks and cupcakes, this is one of those times.

After our health insurance costs doubled per month this year, I started to get nervous. We were barely making it before the increase, so surely after would be no easier.

The reserve is gone, the side jobs no longer exist, and the paycheck is smaller. How did my parents feed, clothe and shelter a family of five on one paycheck?

So, I do what I do best, look on line for help. My state has a great child insurance program which is based on income. It covers children for minimal amounts per month with no co pays. I made a call and spoke to a very friendly lady. Told her that our kids have insurance, but we can't afford it. I gave some specifics and she happily told me that we were eligible to add the kids, therefore dropping our monthly insurance costs by over $200.

I checked with my current carriers and can drop the kids when I get them covered by the state insurance program for kids. Perfect.

Today, I called the state health department with a couple questions about the application, when the bomb dropped. Our application won't be processed without a Termination of Insurance letter from our current carrier.

Here is my catch: I can't terminate existing insurance without new policy. Can't get new policy without termination letter from existing insurance.

The truly upsetting part of this call was that I was told that I am not the only one this happens to. Other people, just like us. Trying to make it all work and digging through a pile only to find the pile has grown with each dig. Even if I could terminate with my current insurance, the kids would be uncovered for at least a month. Then, what if the application is denied? Screwed.

I even thought about the 30 day hiatus for the boys, maybe we could swing it if I get their annual appointments before all this goes down. And then...Sam got hurt today. Not bad, but enough to slap me back to reality and eliminating the hiatus option.

Here is where the politics comes in. I am going to write. Write letters to my representatives and congressmen. Those people I vote for, but don't really know what they do.

They are going to know how this feels, why it is a poor policy and how they can fix it, because if I don't fight, no one is going to do it for me.

And Sam, he is doing okay. The bump is getting smaller and much more colorful.


Anonymous said...

did you learn anything about this? My neighbors are both unemployed and are on a good program... do you want me to ask the details. I think it will likely be what you already found out.. but maybe it is something different. email me and tell me again why you can't terminate and get a termination letter? The application for the new program can be processed prior to termination- so basically you HAVE TO have nothing before you are even considered? Can you ask if there is any reason you would be denied and explain to the 'friendly lady' the predictment... or someone else at the agency? -rhona

FeatherBunkle said...

If you're looking into applying for CHPlus, I know it can be a bit of a "pain". We have gone through the same thing, as has a friend of ours. If you put in your application before the 20th of the month and are approved, your insurance will be effective on the 1st day of the following month. So if you apply in May, you can ask your current insurance company for a letter stating that the kids' insurance will be canceled on May 31. If you apply directly through CDPHP (easiest way, by far!)and you submit your application early in the month you can call every couple of days and check the status of your application. They're pretty helpful and quick about processing apps--and if they don't have your children's insurance approved by the 24th or 25th of the month it still gives you time to ask your current carrier to extend the kids' ins. for one more month. It's a bit of a pain, but totally worth it in the end. Best of luck to you--coming from someone who's "been there"!!