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.
Added context: I have fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, severe allergies, and I’m borderline anemic. I applied for Social Security Disability, in an effort to get on Medicare – but, I got denied.
Apparently, daring to try and do some work-from-home writing work that puts me below poverty level was enough to disqualify me. But, I couldn’t exactly stop working for the three years it took from when I started the process to when the process ended in the hopes that I would get what I honestly do qualify for.
If you wanna be technical – putting both my income and my husband’s income together (including the amount he gets from Social Security Disability) puts us below the federal poverty level.
OK, so… I got my health insurance plan through Covered California, which is the only way I can obtain the subsidy that I qualify for. With the subsidy, my health insurance premium is about one-seventh of the money I make each month. (That’s not including co-pays, prescription costs, etc.)
Without the subsidy – there is no way my husband and I could afford for me to have health insurance coverage at all. It just isn’t possible.
This leads me to now, when I started freaking out over my health insurance subsidy. To summarize, my husband called Covered California (twice) and between those two calls – things got sort of straightened out.
I am able to have a subsidy, but I have to pick a new health plan from Covered California. There are two insurance companies to choose from, and one has a habit of threatening to leave the market. So, I’m not picking any of their plans.
The subsidy I’m getting now is about the same as the amount I got before. It makes my health insurance premium be about one-seventh of my income. We are picking out a new plan for me as I am writing this blog. We decided to go with the Bronze plan instead of the Silver plan I had before.
Recently, I signed up (with my husband’s help) for a vision plan. We now have absolutely no idea if that went through or how much it will cost for premiums. Its a fucking mystery – and health care coverage should never be a mystery.
I thought we had this all worked out for this year. But no. Here were are, near the end of May, starting all over again.
This stressful experience is one of the many reasons why the United States needs to have a single payer health care system. My friends in Canada, Great Britain, and Australia have single payer heath care systems, and they NEVER have to go through what I’m going through just to maintain health insurance coverage. If they need care, they get it, at an affordable rate, no matter what.
In the back of my mind, I’m worried that the Trump regime will rip away my subsidy before I can pay down the deductible on this Bronze plan. I’m frustrated that there is no way for me to feel that my health insurance coverage is safe, stable, or that it will be there for me when I need to use it.