health insurance, Out of Spoons 0 comments on What Happened After Congress Failed to Renew CHIP Funding

What Happened After Congress Failed to Renew CHIP Funding

CHIP stands for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  It provides health coverage to eligible children, through both Medicaid and separate CHIP programs.  CHIP is administered by states, according to federal requirements.  The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government.

The Medicaid.gov website says that 8.9 million children were enrolled in CHIP (according to 2016 statistical enrollment data).  Eligibility is based on income.  It covers uninsured children up to age 19 in families with incomes too high to qualify them for Medicaid.  CHIP also covers pregnant women who meet income eligibility requirements.  In 2010, the Affordable Care Act extended CHIP eligibility to state employee’s children (who previously were not eligible, regardless of income.)

Here is what happened when the United States Congress failed to renew funding for CHIP in 2017.

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Comment I Wrote Opposing Religious Exemptions for Contraceptive Coverage

The federal government is trying, once again, to allow religious employers to refuse to cover contraception in their employee’s health insurance plans. The time limit for voicing opinion on this proposed change closes on December 5, 2017.   This proposed rule change might also take away contraceptive coverage in Medicaid, Medicare, and plans obtained via the Affordable Care Act.

Here is the comment I wrote to make it clear that I oppose allowing religious employers/organizations to refuse to cover contraceptives.

Information on the rule change can be found here.  Please add your comment to oppose this change before December 5, 2017.  Feel free to use some of what I wrote in my comment in the comment you write.

This blog will be updated as this goes through the courts.

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Update About My Health Insurance Subsidy

In May of this year, my health insurance subsidy magically disappeared.  A bill arrived in which the premium had gone up so much that there was no way we’d be able to pay it.  Long story short,  I ended up having to pick a new plan.

At the time, I had a Silver plan. The subsidy helped me pay for it and my premiums were low enough to make it possible for me to afford health insurance coverage.  My husband and I are both disabled, and my attempt to get Social Security Disability was denied – so I can’t get Medicare.  I’m stuck with individual health insurance from a private company.

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health insurance, Out of Spoons 0 comments on An Open Letter to Assembly Member Anthony Rendon Regarding Single Payer Health Care

An Open Letter to Assembly Member Anthony Rendon Regarding Single Payer Health Care

Assembly Member Anthony Rendon,

Please stop blocking SB 562 – the bill that could enable Californians to have access to single payer health care.  It is extremely important, now more than ever, that the State of California take steps to protect people’s access to health care.

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health insurance, Out of Spoons 1 comment on Freaking Out Over My Health Insurance Subsidy

Freaking Out Over My Health Insurance Subsidy

I’m going to greatly summarize what just happened.  A little while ago, my husband got a bill from my health insurance company.  For some unknown reasons, my premium went up DRAMATICALLY because my subsidy had been taken away from me.  He later explained that when he got this bill, he was afraid that he would have to get (another) job.

Let me put that into context.  My husband is legally blind and gets Medicare as a result.  He has optic nerve atrophy, which cannot be cured.  He has tried, in the past, from time to time, to get a “regular job” – but is greatly limited by what kind of job he can do because of his vision.  In addition, he already has a job doing freelance writing and audio production.

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Waiting Indefinitely

It’s been more than a month since I had my third, and final, disability hearing.  I understand that disability judges aren’t known for their speedy decision making abilities, and that there were four holidays between when I had the hearing and today (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve).

I get it.  I’m trying to be patient.

I’m having trouble waiting for an indefinite amount of time for an answer that will either make my life a bit easier – or that will make it significantly harder to struggle through.  I can’t move on until I know which way things will go, and I refuse to let my hopes go up for fear of them crashing to the floor and shattering into a thousand pieces when the mail finally arrives.

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health insurance, Out of Spoons 0 comments on For Those Who Think Being Poor Makes for an Easy Life

For Those Who Think Being Poor Makes for an Easy Life

In October of 2015, I stopped qualifying for Medicaid. (Medi-Cal in California).

Nobody bothered to let me know about this obviously important change.

I ended up seeing a doctor, to set up as a new patient, while uninsured.

Of course, there was no way for me to know that I was uninsured.

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Covered California Saved Us Money

In a previous blog, I wrote that Shawn and I got our health insurance coverage through Covered California. It is the health insurance marketplace for the state of California. We ended up with a health plan that covered both me and Shawn. It cost only a few more dollars than the health plan that covered only me.

Right away, it was obvious that we were saving money by purchasing a health insurance plan through Covered California. Part of the reason was because we qualified for a subsidy. The only way to use your subsidy is to go through the Marketplace (which, for us, is Covered California).

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What Health Insurance Was Like Before Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (which was also called ACA or Obamacare) was passed on March 21, 2010. President Barack Obamacare signed it into law on March 23, 2010. People were able to sign up for “Obamacare” plans on Marketplaces starting in October of 2013. Those plans kicked in on January 1, 2014.

Because of Obamacare, Americans who previously were unable to afford health insurance coverage were able to do so – some for the first time in their lives.  People with low-income qualified for subsidies that could be used to cover part or all of the premiums of plans found in the Marketplace.  Medicaid was expanded (in several states) to cover more poor people.

In this blog, I will give a timeline of what it was like to attempt to get health insurance coverage before Obamacare.  The timeline is based on my own experiences as an adult who was trying to find affordable health insurance that actually covered things.

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health insurance, Out of Spoons 0 comments on Our “Obamacare” Story

Our “Obamacare” Story

Shawn and I signed up for “Obamacare” yesterday, and we got a really good health plan for a very affordable price. I wanted to share this story for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted our story to serve as a counterpoint to the hysteria that is being passed around about canceled health plans and skyrocketing rates.

The other reason I wanted to share our story was because it directly relates to our efforts to get out of debt. We got a health plan that covers both of us for just a little bit more than the cost of a plan that was only covering me.

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