I’m sure 4 out of 5 dentists would disagree, Group Health.
Health insurance and I have always had a thing. I don’t really know how that got started, but here’s a quick run-down:
-Before I was 24 (I don’t remember exactly how MUCH before now) my parents yanked me off their insurance early and without any warning. I think they did this because they had just found out I was gay and were acting homophobic, and to a lessor extent felt I was acting entitled and wanted to save their money.
-Not knowing what to do, and not having the means or motivation, I remained uninsured. My veterinary hospital job (a small, privately-owned business) of course did not offer insurance.
-During this time, I went to the school medical center where they told me I was too late to get sutures (did nothing for me) under my mandatory student health fee. It was the only time I utilized my student health “privileges.” I can’t remember how much it added to my tuition every semester. When I needed rabies vaccinations they were not covered by my health fee and I had to pay over $300 out of pocket because I wasn’t in their vet program–I think their classes get vaccinated as part of their tuition.
-Also during this time I had to go to the Emergency Room on a Sunday. I received an IV, anti-nausea injection, and had a brief conversation with someone who charged me $1200 for less then 3 minutes. I was also charged $840 for emergency room type nickle and diming fees from everyone and their brother who was within a blocks radius. Which of course I could not afford on my practically minimum wage vet assistant salary. Though they said they didn’t accept payments, I created my own payment plan and paid $100-200/month until the bill was paid off. They do not send you to collections if you pay on it consistently.
-Other then that I never went to a medical doctor. I got glasses & contacts on CareCredit and went to the dentist with my own money. I paid for my own Invisalign on CareCredit as well.
-For the first time ever, a veterinary job (in Seattle) offered me health insurance as part of my benefits package. I was dismayed to find out how much my “benefit” would cost me monthly and tried to revoke it. I can’t remember if they took away my health insurance, paid it themselves, or gave me a raise to pay it. And I only lived in Seattle for a year, so if I had insurance it wasn’t for very long. And when I went to the dentist there, I had to pay anyway, because if I had a plan, that wasn’t on it.
-I never went to the doctor or had any health problems during this time either.
-By the time I moved HERE I had already been without health insurance for a long time. And didn’t have any conditions, prescriptions, or problems, so I didn’t really want to pay for it. When my job “offered” it I was wise to the me paying for my own benefit scenario and refused. They were very worried about liability so they gave me a “raise” in order to force me to be insured. I thought since I had it, I would try to utilize it to get my money’s worth. But the only thing I really use it for is teeth and eyes. Group Health covers neither. But they do cover acupuncture and chiropractor visits (in full). So that makes sense *sarcasm* And when I called the gal on the phone had major attitude and treated me stupid for thinking dental WAS medical.
-I got glasses using my insurance. And it was cheaper then when I had paid for it all on my own using the CareCredit card. The exam and service was hardly outstanding though.
-As soon as I talked about going part-time, my employer yanked away my health insurance. They did this before I actually went to part-time hours. The manual said that to be considered full time you had to work that amount of hours for 60 days, so I figured it would be the same going from full to part time as well. It was not–at least for me. AND even though I had anticipated 30 hours b/c our employee manual said 30 hr was considered FULL time, and I mostly wanted to keep my vacation time, but the insurance didn’t hurt. When I brought that up, they said the employee manual wasn’t a CONTRACT and they were now considering full time MORE hours, (so I couldn’t have that status). BUT the receptionist who works exactly 30 hours (only because she works through every lunch and gets paid for it) still got to keep her vacation time.
-My boss then had the audacity to try to pressure me into finding private insurance b/c she couldn’t imagine being uninsured and it was a liability. . .
-During this time I never so much as got a cold and had no need for medical attention of any kind.
-Later when the 2nd vet got divorced and needed health insurance, it was granted to her even though she worked a maximum of 29 hours a week, and that’s being generous because she constantly strolled in 8-8:30 AM (late). So I guess it’s not the number of hours but WHO YOU ARE at my last job to qualify for benefits.
-When Obama was proposing mandatory health insurance and comparing his plan to Canada’s system, I was fully behind it because Canada knows the story. Even when work began to fret about the changes, I thought–good now they will HAVE to pay for my health insurance, serves them right for playing so dirty. But it didn’t happen that way at all. My job is another small business so they were exempt–I was again on my own.
-I was a part-time student and they made student insurance ONE credit over part-time status. I was in a loop-hole, and I felt Obama mislead me. This was not like Canada’s system at all! This seemed to me like coercion to get healthy people to pay into the system in order to expand benefits for people with preexisting conditions. And why should I (already near the poverty line) have to pay for other sick people when I am healthy?
-But I am a rule follower so even though I disagreed I tried to see my options. I applied to Medicare. Even though I am a part-time student and part-time employee, I was not poor enough to qualify. Again–who would be if not people like me? So I checked into my state’s funding for Medicare rejects. They have a discount program for people of low financial means that are not quite low enough to be considered poverty. And the news? My cheap insurance would be catastrophic coverage ONLY (no check-ups, prescriptions, co-pays, nothing at all unless I suffered some tragedy) for a mere $210/month. And the offers went up from there. I checked into my other options and I would be looking at $250/mo–at least. And that’s if I didn’t want anything. If I actually wanted anything back for that money it was sky-high–I’ve repressed the numbers b/c they were so horrible.
-I have still not had any sort of medical attention, or had so much as a cold (thanks sleep schedule and Zicam!) since I’ve been off health insurance.
-It’s all I can do not to scratch eyes when Planned Parenthood is touting the benefits of the new healthcare plans on Facebook. And everyone who likes it writes it’s because they have such-&-such condition and now they can get healthcare! Paid for healthy people like me forced to pay into the system, but that don’t actually use it. Sounds a lot like redistribution of funds (from healthy to sick, no matter the income) to me. So I can see the comparisons to socialism–and I am not for it. I can’t afford to pay for the medicare of some old, sickly smoker. . .
And so that was a little longer story then I anticipated explaining how:
a) Obama misrepresented his plan and I stupidly voted for it
b) I got stuck in a whack loophole
c) insurance companies and greedy bastards
d) employees of small businesses (vet hospitals) are screwed
e) Cat’s Meow is shady with their benefits, and I’m glad I don’t work there
f) dentistry is for reasons unknown is not a medical profession
g) I am willfully uninsured
h) now that I wrote this jinxy post I’m going to get hit by lightning and require a bunch of emergency medical attention. Hopefully not–but if I did I would try for Care Credit or make small payments. . .