How to Survive Healthcare 2014


1)  Practice self compassion.  

It will all be okay.  You’ve gone most of a year without medications because they were too expensive and you could not afford the prescription coverage either.  You can make it a few more months.

2)  Be positive. 

So glad my state is one of those with a “working” health plan exchange when the federal one stalled.

Does calling an 800-number all hours of day and night for one consecutive month qualify as a working exchange?  Oh, I see.  They are simply testing me to see if their online application qualifies me for one of my region’s multitude of programming jobs.

3)  Breathe.

Oh wait, I can’t!  Which is why I need healthcare.

Trouble-shooting my application error on my own, I crack the code with my income tax rebate in hand!  Yippee!  I qualify for a reasonable rate plan WITH prescription coverage, only $50 per medication I need to breathe.  How amazing!

4)  Meditate.

Schedule doctor appointment for first week of coverage.  

5)  Let go of all possessions.

Why is my bank account suddenly $340 in the red?  Holy cow!  Ahhhh. . . it’s because the e-mail sent to me two weeks ago was just a jumble of words on a piece of paper, clearly not really real because the words float online and not on paper. 

“If you had an AFT (Automatic Funds Transfer) set up on your existing plan, please note we have terminated the transfer to ensure you are not paying twice.”

6)  Stay in the present moment. 

Go to the doctor first time in two years.   Better check insurance plan first to be positive medication I need is on my pharmacy plan.  Hmmm.  An error message when I try to look up any medication on my plan.  Better call them and let them know.  Speak to tech support and find I am not hallucinating or an imbecile.  There really is a bug in the website preventing anyone from using the pharmacy portion to, say, order medications, check what drugs are covered, or prices.  I am thanked for bringing this to their attention.

7)  Practice gratitude. 

How nice to talk with someone in customer service to look up my medications for me.  I learn they are covered on my plan with only a $50 copay (since asthma inhalers are notoriously brand-name only ever since being repatented a decade ago; check here to see how many places in the world offer the same medications for the cost of a latte, and even over-the-counter).

8)  Try astral projection. 

Visualize Sweden in order to afford my medication?

9)  Take action. 

Meet with doctor who gladly works out an asthma action plan since it has been a very difficult month for my lungs and engage discussion of a more holistic approach to my immune system calling Red Alert every time I get within proximity of animal dander and my lungs close up, including diet changes, acupuncture, and supplements.  First step?  Get that steroid inhaler at the pharmacy to control my immediate gasping for breath and allow me to breathe!  Phew!  I feel better already.

10)  Visualize success!

Go to pharmacy to pick up prescription.  Um.  Did I give them the wrong ID card?  Why am I being asked for $187 when I was told my plan covers this drug for a $50 copay?  Why?  “I’ll tell you why,” says the kind and weary pharmacist who was on the phone for 90 minutes to get through to the healthcare exchange in my state, “Turns out you are not in the system. Everything is accurate on your card, but apparently thousands of people have not been entered into the system yet.  You can pay the full price and get reimbursed from the state.”  Uh, thanks but no thanks.  What’s a few more days when you’ve been waiting months to breathe?

11)  Exhale.  

It’s all you can do.


About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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