The Saga of the Uninsured

dandelion spokesThe saga of this uninsured person has taken another twist. I am really curious what the experience is of someone else who is also uninsured. If you too are uninsured, please comment or email me! I know there are some kindred spirits out there!

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about or are among the privileged who has or can get health insurance, let me bring you up to speed.

Here’s a brief recap:

  • I had health insurance through our company when we lived in California.
  • We moved to Texas and I was denied by six insurance companies because of pre-existing medical conditions.
  • We moved back to California in 2013 and I was no longer eligible for the Texas Risk Pool. I also was ineligible for any risk-pool type insurance in California because I had been insured (You must be uninsured for six months before applying). Even if I was elegible, the premiums were in excess of $1,500 per month, making it unaffordable since we are currently under-employed.
  • I called one of the resources given to me when I was looking for coverage in California. I was referred to a local clinic system that takes uninsured patients. The prescriptions I transferred from my pharmacy in Texas were going to expire and I needed to find a local doctor in order to be able to continue taking medication.
  • I made an appointment with the [indigent] clinic. The earliest appointment was two-and-one-half months out. I took it. In the meantime, I called my Texas doctor and she extended my prescription refills for three more months.
  • When I showed up for the appointment, I was told I had been cancelled because when they called me to reschedule, my phone was disconnected. They had the wrong phone number. The next available appointment was another three months out.
  • I decided to try Planned Parenthood, knowing I could at least get a mammogram and basic lab work done. I had an appointment within the week and results from my lab work the next day! Unfortunately my lab work came back abnormal and I had to establish a primary care physician for treatment. I was referred to a clinic for the uninsured. It turned out to be the same [indigent] clinic system I had already tried only under another name!
  • I called the main number given to me by Planned Parenthood and was told I couldn’t be seen for three months at the main clinic, but that I was welcome to try one of the other six clinics. Four of the phone numbers given to me were no longer in service and the other two clinics didn’t have appointments for four to five months.
  • I gave up, completely frustrated (actually I told my insured husband I was was f**king frustrated).

That brings me up to today. Since I know I will be eligible for something when the Affordable Health Care Act is fully implemented, I decided to be a self-pay patient just to get this recent issue resolved and my prescriptions refilled. Well, it seems no one is taking any new self-pay patients. No one. Not only are they not taking any new self-pay patients, they do not know “of any resources available for someone in [my] situation.” Really?!? I can’t be the only uninsured person in the entire Sacramento area who has called for an appointment and been refused. I understand having a policy for accepting new patients, but it’s unacceptable to not have resource options when denying someone.

My last resort was to call the clinic where my oldest son receives treatment for HIV and other other issues, and my sister raises money through the NorCal AIDS Cycle. I learned they recently expanded their services.

Hallelujah! I have an appointment! It could have been seen sooner, but we’ll be at Paulina Lake, Oregon on a family fishing trip and scattering some of my brother’s ashes. In the meantime Planned Parenthood has called me again to see if I have an appointment. They are serious about making sure I am seeking treatment. I’m tentatively hopeful. This is my last option.

 

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