And to be completely clear while I'm pretty sure who I'll be voting for for the most part I have been way too sick for way too long to know anything more than names and some impressions. (Random trivia: Guess who spoke at my college graduation? That's right, Rick Santorum. Twice I've had encounters with unknown people who were famous later. In grad school I went to hear a free speaker at the local hospital. They gave us goodie bags and food for coming and the room wasn't that packed. I was there for bonus points. It was a good talk. Imagine my surprise a few years later when my mom was watching Oprah and called me in to hear this really great guest she has been having. He looked so familiar......I saw Dr. Oz when he wasn't famous outside of medicine.)
So I have no idea who is proposing what, but as we enter this election year please think about healthcare issues as a major problem. I am one person in a tough situtaion and right now I can't sleep most nights because of the following:
- As it stands I have 2 choices for insurance: COBRA or going without
- COBRA costs between $450 and $500/month and the coverage is bad enough that unless I am hospitalized again there would be huge out of pocket expenses.
- I do not have $450-$500/month although my mom will help but this puts both of us on a tight budget.
- I am eligible for Medicaid for people with disabilities right now (after I'm allowed into my 401k and get rid of that small amount of money).
- I can't go on Medicaid because I need something that gets me through until I'm allowed Medicare which is probably August of 2013. However I could be granted SSDI which puts me over the income limits at any time and then I wouldn't have any insurance at all since you can't go on and off and on COBRA
- SSDI is a governmental insurance policy (the I is insurance). When you go onto it you get the same benefit you would get if you were 65 and had the same history of contribution amounts (presumably based on an assumption that was true when SS was devised, that people stay in about the same earning range over a full career). However, someone who is 65 is able to go onto Medicare immediately. Disabled people have a 2 year wait (from a stated date of disability that is determined by the reviewer.)
- I am not eligible for private insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
- Ohio has a high risk pool insurane that I could get into but I'd have to go without insurance for 6 months to qualify, unless they have a clause that says you can't get it if you opted out of COBRA whih most programs that I've found do.
- If my SSDI is approved on this round my mother wants to retire in December. This one bill may be enough to prevent that.
So essentially the government has created a system in which someone who is sick enough that permanent disability has been determined neessary cannot get even slightly reasonable insurance coverage, and this will last until my SSDI has been approved (can take a few years, possibly longer than I even have COBRA coverage) and I've made it through my waiting period for Medicare. It makes no sense; first you apply for disability indicating that if you are single you are very likely to have no income (I'm blessed beyond words that I have my mom's help), then you are eligible for very little assistance considering the situation, you are very dependent on having up-to-date medical records but you can't afford to see a doctor, and then you get approved and if you have not been through the 2-3 year variation of the process you are possbily not eligible for the little assistance you had before but you still have to find a way to afford doctors and medications until Medicare opens up.
It is a horrible system and one that is stressing me out more than anything else right now. (Other states will probably have better situations; Ohio rejected some options that would have helped this).