I am in health care hell.  I have been here before.  In fact in the last six years I have had four different insurance companies provide my health care.

I HAVE NEVER BEEN WITHOUT HEALTH CARE.

But I have rarely had my employer provide insurance.  Even when I worked for the church I fought to get one the church’s plan.  Then I had to get private health care.  Even my parents drummed nothing else into my head, they taught me to make health care a priority.

After starting nannying I went with one company, having used an insurance broker suggested by the agency I went through to get my job.  That was back in the days where preexisting conditions didn’t have to be covered for the first 2 years.  I paid though the nose for a medication before it was finally covered.  Then that company pulled out of Illinois.  The broker found me another company. I paid over $7000 a year and that was with a $5000 deductible.

My employers started giving me money towards my heath insurance and that help.  Then my insurance company left Illinois.  Again with the broker and a new company.  But by now, at least they had to cover preexisting conditions.  I felt so guilty that I had “conditions.  A friend gently pointed out that I was in my mid-50’s and by then most people have some preexisting “stuff”.

So every couple of years my broker would call with a new, better plan.  I finally landed with Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Things were fine, until they raised their rates by 38% and took most of the hospitals in my area out of the plan.  Even the hospital sent a letter with two suggested choices.  I went with Land of Lincoln health.  It was a new company started under the Obama care era.  My broker spoke highly of it.  I didn’t get a discount because I don’t fit into the financial parameters.

The doctor I had for years, retired.  I asked around for doctors and found the practice, right across the street from where I live didn’t take the one particular Land of Lincoln plan I had.  I asked around some more and finally found a new female internist at a new area hospital.  I like her.  I like her a lot.  She has been responsive, straight forward and available by email.  It was fairly easy to get an appointment.  And so it went.

My employer mentioned that she heard Land of Lincoln was in big trouble and was going to be forced to close.  I called my insurance broker.  He basically patted me on the head (via the phone) told me he hadn’t heard anything and I shouldn’t worry my little head about it.   I believed him.

Until I got the letter saying Land of Lincoln was being closed by the government.  I would need to find a bridge plan for four months during a special enrollment period. But the money I already paid towards my deductible wouldn’t transfer and I would start a new deductible period for those four months. Guess what?  I didn’t go back to the old broker.  I asked around and found a woman who commiserated  and gave me my options, while reminding me she didn’t know what would happen when the new enrollment period came around.

Last week that was answered when the bridge plan through Aetna was also discontinued.  In fact Aetna isn’t offering any private individual/family plans in my area.  Worse there are no PPO plans being offered in the private individual/family plans in this are.  HMO is my only choice. And you guessed it, my doctor’s practice and those hospitals no longer accept ANY individual plan.

I’ve shed a lot of tears over this the last two weeks.  Part is the genuine sadness at having to give up the doctor I had forged a relationship with.  Part of it is tears of utter frustration at, having done the right thing my whole life, it comes to this now.

Am I blaming Obama care?  Only in as far as the Republicans thwarted the way the bill was originally written thus setting up this very scenario.  But to me Obamacare was not only a good idea, it was a justice area.  How can we be a country of the haves and the haven-nots. Isn’t it a basic right to have good health care.  Our government officials have good health care.  From what I’ve seen lately, a lot of those government officials don’t work any harder than I do.

But beyond that, the idea of universal health care fit into my idea of Christianity and the mandate to care for ” the widows and children”, to care for “the least of these”.

I’ve spent the last week calling doctors to see if they are taking the Blue Cross Blue Shield Precision HMO, taking new patients and will let me come in to meet them.  Because apparently in this plan, I have to say who my primary physician is and in most cases I will not be allowed to change that once the enrollment time has closed.

I am fortunate that the kids  I care for are in school all day because there’s been a lot of phone time the last few days.  But I am actually one of the lucky ones.  In four years (which seems like life time right now) I will be eligible for Medicare.

Until then, I think it is going to be a very bump ride.  From where I sit, socialized medicine doesn’t look that bad.

 

Fall is a weird time for me.  On the one hand I drive into my townhouse area and the trees on either side of the road, parade in stunning gold and red colors.  Beautiful.  On the other hand, the last two fall seasons brought the death of both my parents and those memories color my world a bit drab.

It  gets darker way too early.  This, even before the time change.  I come home in the dark, and yes, it is only a five minute drive, still I’m ready for pjs and bed…by 6:30pm.  But there is a cozyness this darkness.  Cuddling with my elderly cat under a down throw…feels good to both our old bones.  It is the season that makes you want to try out those new soup recipes and crockpot specials.

The crisp coolness of the mornings, often gives way to a “party dress blue” color to the skies by afternoon.  I sleep with my window cracker open to enjoy the cold air of the nights, perfectly content, bundled up in blankets.  My winter clothes, dragged out of hiding, seem new and interesting to wear.  Except for the ones that cause me to wonder, “what possessed me to buy that“?

I think every day I should take advantage of this weather and take a walk outside in the prairie preserve.  But I have a job…that involves switching clothes times three and being more hands on with homework than I ever desired.

But I do dread the unrelenting darkness and cold the approaching winter.  Times to switch the air vents and the furnace.  Time to turn on the whole house humidifier.  Should I clean the garage one more time before it becomes like an extra refrigerator out there?  Time to remove the patio furniture from outdoors and bundle up the grill for the winter.

Time to enjoy the multitude of Christmas catalogs that will soon fill my mailbox.  Time to inventory my stash of gifts already bought but by now, forgotten.

Time to remember my parents anniversary and my Mom’s birthday.  Time to remember, to reflect.

Fall…

Life is Good

"It's ironic that we

forget so often how

wonderful life really is...

C'mon, let's be honest.

We have an embarrassment

of riches. Life is good."

-Anne Quindlen

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