Batten Down the Hatches

I’ve spent some time tightening up our budget this week, which is rough to say the least. Monday morning I’ll be sending J. in to Sinclair community college with a credit card authorization giving UHC $1145 to cover the two of us through J’s account since they’re no longer honoring my work account.

As noted elsewhere, I can’t go more than 60 days without coverage, and tho once this whole debacle is sorted out they’ll retroactively cover me for the gap… well, let’s just say I don’t want any paperwork in exsitence anywhere that says I went more than 60 days without coverage. I have to live my whole life as a t1, and trust me – insurance companies will find every crazy way possible to shunt the most expensive folks from their ranks. And I’m one of them. And tho I could fight them when they pulled out that “no coverage since Sep 1st” letter… it would take 6 months to sort out, and I would be fighting it my whole life. Every time I changed insurance providers or J. or I had a big medical bill, they’d root through our account. We’d never escape it.

So Monday morning we’re out $1154. It’s an 80/20 plan, so we’ve started stuffing money toward paying for expenses. He’s got an MRI every 6 months that runs $3,000. My drugs, if I drop my pump and get real lean, may “only” run $350 if I’m careful. Add that to regular endo appointments for me and port flushes for him (J.’s a cancer survivor. There’s another year of follow-up before he’s insurable again outside a major employer-sponsored group plan), and we’re looking at about $11-12,000 a year in bare bones medical expenses. You figure we’ll need to come up with, what, $2400-3000 of that out of pocket in addition to the $1145.

Hopefully we’ll only be out coverage for 3-6 months. So let’s say $1500 out of pocket over the next 3 months in addition to the $1145.

That’s an extra $500 a month we need to pull from thin air (not counting the $1145, which is going on the credit card I had nearly paid off).

Sorry this has become the “all shitty health insurance, all the time blog,” the last couple of weeks, but these issues weigh pretty heavily on me, and getting all the facts and numbers down on paper actually helps me cope and process the whole thing.

I’ve shaved about $150 from the budget right now by tossing out netflix and severely cutting our “misc./fun” budget from $200 a month to $100 a month (we already live pretty lean. You don’t go from having $17,000 in credit card debt to $2,800 in 3 years if you aren’t already living lean). We’ll be making up the rest by paying a little less toward that fucking credit card bill (did I mention I was just $2,800 and 5 months away from paying it off completely?), and relying on J’s new part-time job. I’m also working on hunting down a few freelance gigs. One of the roughest things going on right now is that my student loans have come due this month. That was fine when the credit card was going to be paid off. Now I have to juggle those with the CC payments and medical costs.

We’ll make it through this. But it doesn’t make me any happier about it. The most frustrating part is that it’s totally out of my hands. At least when UHC was only fucking *me* over, I had some control over it. I could spend hours and hours yelling at them and get the issue resolved. Now I’m totally powerless to do anything but pay for a second policy. That’s incredibly, brutally frustrating. Because ya’ll know me: I’m a fighter. I fight to the end. Being on the passive end of this whole fiasco drives me crazy.

So, I’m doing what I can. Cutting back, paying bills, eating a lot of soup and beanless chili… Recipes to come! Because when it looks like everything is crap, it’s good to remember that you can still afford to eat. And with how rough it is out there right now, that’s nothing to sniff at.

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