Zombies & Bubble Wrap

Horror was one of my favorite movie genres growing up. I would spend what would seem like hours at the local video store browsing cheesy 80’s horror flicks with my mom. Night of the Living Dead, the original black and white version, was my very first horror film I watched. It scared the living s**t out of me. Truth be told, I am still scared of the dark and not ashamed to admit it. Even so, I can’t stop watching every god awful horror movie that comes out. But nothing comes close to the sheer panic I felt opening my email and discovering this:

Hello, the review has been denied as you are not meeting the participation requirement. Your healthcare has been terminated as of January 31, 2019. Insert some more bull***t here. Thank you, UNC Risk Mgmt. 

I stared blankly at the screen. It took me a few seconds to realize what I just read. Then it hit me. OMG! I don’t have insurance. OH. MY. GOD!!! This means that my MS specialist visit wasn’t covered. I will not be able to get the treatment that I desperately need, or start my physical therapy. I will have to wrap myself in bubble wrap. Just roll me around. 

If you don’t already know, I am the woman who handles the health insurance audit for the company that I work for every year. A few days before I was admitted to the hospital I filled out all of the forms, dotted all the Is, crossed all the Ts, and faxed it to them. This happens every year and I didn’t think this year would be any different. But as it turns out, we hired three new employees last year and that was enough so that our “quota” was no longer being met. All of our employees are either covered by the union, their spouses, or they refused coverage because of the high cost. 

Just think about that for minute. Our healthcare system is so broken that we have a few employees that would rather pay the fine and the out of pocket expense of a doctor, than pay for insurance. Healthcare is a human right and no one should have to go without it, or suffer because they can’t afford it. That is why it is extremely important that people know exactly who is taking their healthcare away and why it is so important to vote them out. People’s lives are literally at stake. 

President Donald Trump said, “We totally support people with pre-existing conditions.”

This is FALSE. He supported multiple House and Senate repeal bills that would have ended such protections, is pushing junk plans that allow for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and is arguing in court that pre-existing condition protections should be eliminated in a lawsuit Trump himself predicts would “terminate” the Affordable Care Act and its consumer protections.

Read more here: https://www.protectourcare.org/

I think is it very important that people know this information. I am positive they know someone that is, or will be affected by this. Whether it’s a loved one, friend, or a coworker. We are human beings; not numbers. 

Continuing on……

When I got into work my boss called UNC’s Risk Department and pleaded with them to reinstate my insurance, but they ignored our pleas. At the end of the day I was just a number to them and nothing more. I immediately did a Google search for healthcare companies. I found a marketplace website. I did something that I will regret  at least for the next few months— I put in my cell phone number. I still get at least 8-10 calls a day. I started telling them that someone did it to me as a joke and to please take me off of their list. Now don’t go getting any ideas! 

I picked up the very first call I received. I said I was dropped from my insurance and I need to get coverage ASAP. He said, sure let me start by asking you a few questions— name, address, birthdate, etc. He then asked if I had any pre-existing conditions? I replied, yes I was diagnosed with MS. There was a 5 second pause on the other end and then he said, to be honest we can’t cover you until open enrollment begins, and that is in November. 

November, I said?! Like eight months from now?! My MS isn’t going to take a f***ing vacation till then. I have been living in hell for weeks and now you are telling me I have to wait even longer to get my treatment……..like MONTHS?! Yes, he said calmly. Sorry I can’t help you. Your best bet is Cobra. So ask your Human Resources department…I AM THE F**CKING HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT!

After looking into Cobra we realized it wasn’t an option because we have less than 20 employees. So there goes that idea! A true horror story is when you have an incurable disease and zero health coverage, because you are considered a “pre-existing condition.” 

Zombies? Puulease. This is what keeps me up at night now. 

I ended up calling Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ directly. I immediately started with, I have MS and I need to get coverage ASAP. Can you help me or not? And this amazing woman named Tracey, said, you called just in time. We are having a special enrollment period starting in two days. So it’s best that you apply now or tomorrow. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I found myself yelling into the phone, TODAY! That would be great! This open enrollment is only for people with special circumstances and I just happened to fall under one of them. You have no idea the feeling of relief that poured over me. Finally the universe is cutting me a break. But I don’t want to say that too loud. 

Fingers crossed everything goes through and I get my member id number, so I can finally start my treatment! 

I guess I won’t need that bubble wrap after all. 

But…….we need to send a message to our lawmakers that we are more than just a number. 

WE are people. 

WE deserve better. 

WE demand action. 

And action takes place in the voting booth.