Letting Go #5:
Let me start off by clarifying that I’m grateful to have health insurance. And that I’m grateful to still qualify for this insurance through my husband, because otherwise I’d only get enough back from my own paycheck to pay for some aspirin (the store brand). In this day and age, good health insurance is becoming a luxury. That said however, I am also really struggling with the fact that our insurance company (which shall remain nameless) KNOWS full well that we are some of the lucky few and takes advantage of this situation at every opportunity.
Recently, after no less than five calls by both my husband and me, the latest debacle is no closer to resolution than it was three weeks ago. Oh, and this isn’t even one of those deals where we are protesting a claim. This is the deal where all involved have admitted that there’s a mistake, but nobody in the whole cyber-medical-plan maze has the authority to fix our deductible so that we don’t keep on paying and paying and paying like the Energizer Bunny.
Medical insurance and the act of “going to see the doctor” just pushes my buttons. I grew up in a family without medical insurance. And what made matters worse, we were a farm family where the risk of injury on the job is extremely high and there is usually no cash handy to pay for any livestock medical bills much less human ones. “To go to the doctor” meant there was something really wrong with you—there had to be massive blood loss or a raging fever or something about to fall off that needed re-attachment. To this day, even with Medicare my parents refuse to seek medical intervention in a timely fashion (Example: my dad waited five days before driving himself to the hospital for a ruptured appendix. Yes, he lives to tell the tale).
No doubt, I come from hardy stock (or at least from kin with high pain thresholds) but I am no match for the stress of waiting for the medical claim to arrive in the mail—the one that will ruin our lives. By that I don’t mean just the financial strain, but the psychological fallout of maneuvering the intricate chess game of co-payment and deductible hell. Given my history, it is very likely that I will put off or avoid treatment until I feel like I’m in the before-mentioned hell (that isn’t even considered in-network, darn it!). I will go in only when I feel really, really bad. Wellness checkups? Bah! Yearly physicals? Wimps!
And if I don’t change my attitude, it will catch up with me one of these days. As I get older, I must remind myself that it’s in my best interests, as well as the insurance company’s, for me to get in those check ups so that they won’t have to foot the big bills of medical catastrophe and I won’t be living in a medical hell that I created by waiting too long for treatment. From what I’ve seen, self-care is not at the top of the list for most caregivers, for most people, really. And the more phobic I become in dealing with the insurance company, the less I’m taking advantage of programs that will provide early intervention. After all, my health and the health of my family members are the most important factors in this equation, no matter how difficult the settling of the medical bar tab can become. One thing’s for sure, the fees will be resolved one way or the other, and I’ll be that much wiser in the ways of the insurance world.
Funny, I don’t mind going to the dentist. But that’s a whole other story.
Live in good health—know that it is within your grasp.