So, obviously, having no job means not much income. Unemployment equals right about half what Rich was making before. Well, before the economy tanked. Over the last few months of his employment, the company cut management’s salaries by 15%, then they quit paying into the 401K. Then they stopped the accrual of PTO, so goodbye to the 5 weeks vacation he had built up.
Thankfully, they did give him 6 weeks of severance, which totally saved Christmas. For that, I am grateful. Having no job, however, also means no insurance. This worries me almost as much as the whole no money thing. The year before we got married, I had was temping, with no coverage for either of the kids or myself. I lived in fear that something dreadful would happen. God was watching over us, though, because my Kristopher, the child of mine who has had more broken bones and stitches than anyone I know, went that entire year without one accident. That is the only time in his life that he passed 12 months with no injuries. I kid you not.
But this time, there are only Rich, Tony and myself to worry about. I go to the dr maybe once a year, sometimes not that much. I don’t take any rx meds, though I should. Rich, on the other hand, takes 4 different pills every day. Tony doesn’t often get sick, but he has spent time in the hospital twice in his life, when he was 3 his asthma gave him a roundtrip over night stay. And when he was 4, a tick bit him and he spent a week with an IV curing his Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
So, naturally I was a bit concerned that Tony would suffer some other freak accident or something crazy like that. My only option at this point is Health Choice for him, which is a form of Medicaid. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this bothers me. Having grown up dirt poor, I really didn’t want to ever depend on a government hand out again. Ha, shows what happens when I get too big for my britches. I filled out the paperwork and mailed it on the first Wednesday of December.
Saturday was my annual cookie party. Rich and Tony grouse and grumble about being forced to leave the house and find something to do, but they love coming home to all the party food and many MANY dozens of cookies. Not this year, though. Tony woke up with a stomach ache, and though he was hurting, they still left. Fast forward 3 hours, I’ve got a houseful of girlfriends, chatting and eating like only girlfriends can do. Rich called from the ER, where they were running tests on Tony, but they were pretty sure that he had appendicitis.
Now, remember that just three days ago, I had mailed the paperwork. Why I didn’t do it earlier, I don’t know. I’m a slacker. I was crossing my fingers pretty tightly that the application would be approved, and back dated. We were at the hospital in town for about 5 hours, before they transferred him, via ambulance to the ER of the Children’s hospital an hour away.
By the time he was released Monday evening, we had racked up $18,000 worth of bills. My stomach was in knots. Near the end of the next week, I received the approval letter, and he was covered from the 1st of December, the date I filled it out. Finally I could breathe…
But there was still the question of Rich’s medicines. I made him an appointment at the Health Department. Again, this was difficult, as my britches were apparently still too big. The doctor there gave him prescriptions that Walmart has on their $4 and $10 plan. Here’s the interesting bit: his 4 meds cost $45 without insurance. When we had insurance, and used the mail in pharmacy, they cost $100. For the same drugs. How much sense does that make?
I’ve always been of the mind that everyone deserves medical insurance. I think Europe and Canada have the right idea. I know there are bugs in every system that need tweaking, but surely something can be done for people here in America. Now, of course, I’m one of those very people.