Living Well with Epilepsy has dedicated June as Epilepsy Stigma Awareness Month. This year 30 bloggers/advocates/family foundations/epilepsy affiliates will each post throughout June on the topic of epilepsy stigma. Go to Living Well with Epilepsy’s Epilepsy Stigma Blog Relay 2015 website and read some of the blog posts.
Some of the stories are very powerful. I have barely started and already come across a couple that deeply moved me.
Today I am feeling a great deal of frustration. I wanted to resolve my health insurance problem quickly, find a place of my own to live in, and get full-time employment. Things did not go as planned.
In Upcoming Interview, I talked about an interview that I had in one of the colleges that I work for. Despite the fact that I was incredibly nervous, I thought I did okay. A few weeks later I found out that the position was cancelled.
In ‘I refuse to change neurologists!‘, I talked about the current problem that I am having with my health insurance. I tried calling various people, and even went to my hospital’s patient financial councilors who help you with this kind of thing. Unfortunately, I did not get the result I was hoping to hear.
I am feeling more than a little frustrated with my lack of results. I can only see two ways things can play out:
- If I continue my quest for a full-time job, I would get health insurance benefits, financial stability, and eventually a place of my own.
- I may have to cave in and see a new neurologist.
I sent a message to my current neurologist to see what strategy she recommends, but have not heard back from her yet. When I talked to someone else about this, and they thought it was great that I had insurance that was not dependent on your job. Am I wrong to think that getting a full-time job will solve all my problems?
I found myself with some free time today, so I used it to try to find a solution to my health insurance problem. I have not been able to deal with it yet because of work. I have tried to finish up some end of the semester details at one college while getting ready to start a new semester at another.
I was told by a contact at my primary care physician’s office to consider switching insurance. I called various people for three hours. I even made sure to throw in the words epilepsy, chronic condition, and neurologist to let them know that my case was important. The system that my state uses for people to apply for affordable health insurance will not let me switch insurance until a specific time unless you have a ‘qualifying condition.’
Right now, I’m trying to find out if there are other options. These are the ones that I can think of at the moment:
- Don’t see my neurologist until I have new insurance. She would not be happy with this option, but she is not cheap and I can’t afford an expensive doctor bill at the moment. Paying out-of-pocket is not an option.
- Keep the current insurance, despite its obvious flaws, and change neurologists.
If you have other suggestions, do not hesitate to let me know. Switching insurance while maintaining my affordable health insurance doesn’t seem possible at the moment. “The system” will let me switch in November at the earliest.
I called my primary care physician to try to get the situation with my health insurance resolved. I thought I would be able to make a few quick calls and the problem would be resolved within a week. I could then schedule an appointment with my epileptologist. I was very wrong.
I took some time off in the morning to make the phone calls. I didn’t know what I was doing, but assumed that calling the health insurance company would give me some answers. They said that I had to call my primary care physician and have them fill out a form and submit it to them. This form, if approved, would help me get permission to see my epileptologist. Sounds good right?
By David REVOY [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The person that I talked to at my primary care physician’s office explained the reality of the situation to me. My new health insurance is very particular about who you can see. Although there is a system in place for getting permission, very few patients actually get it. My contact made it sound as if I would have better luck hunting down a dragon. They said they would fill out and send the form for me, but I should consider changing health insurance plans.
I feel like screaming. I refuse to change my specialist! She has done an amazing job keeping my seizures in check. I will change health insurance companies before changing my epileptologist.
Because I have been extremely busy, I neglected something that I shouldn’t have. I have dealt with insurance companies and doctors for a while now, so this should not have happened, but it did.
I had an appointment to see my epileptologist. I got new insurance in the beginning of the year, so I changed my insurance information where she works. They said that they do not accept that insurance, and I would need permission from my insurance to see her. Once I got that permission then I would also need a referral from my Primary care physician. Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the details until it was too late. I had to cancel my appointment with my specialist.
Why didn’t I update my insurance earlier? I could have slowly solved these problems. My epileptologist is very popular, so I can’t just get another appointment next week. I completely forgot to check to see if they accept my new insurance. She works at a large institution, so I blindly assumed everything would work out. I also completely forget to ask if they needed a referral. Most insurance companies want referrals before you see a specialist of any kind. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.
I guess there is one important lesson that was learned in all of this. Do not let yourself get so busy that you forget the important things in life. One of my important things is finding time to manage my chronic illness.