Friday, May 21, 2010

A bitter diatribe- perhaps addressed to our President (or it should be!)

Gee, what's an underinsured American family supposed to do?

I'm so frustrated. Craig and I live frugally and do so to be financially responsible and not be a burden on society by having to go into foreclosure or bankruptcy, etc. But it feels sometimes that our hard work doesn't really mean a hill of beans. It's overwhelming when literally every few days another medical bill comes and they have been about $150 each; Elly's ear infection appointment, Diana OB labwork, Diana limited Ultrasound, etc, etc, etc. Then there's the issue of not having dental or vision either. I called Peninsula Community Health this morning to ask what it would cost to take Elly in for a checkup....$200. Really? That's more than any of the actual dentists offices! For Craig, Elly, and I to have cleanings and X-rays once a year it's over $600. And then of course we better hope no one has a cavity or anything else.
I'm just frustrated when we don't go out to eat (Silver City I miss you!), we don't go to the movies (I went 3x in the last year), we don't buy fun new toys (I don't know anyone with an old tube tv, except us)....and then we still end up with debt because of not having medical insurance other than disaster coverage.
I was looking online (again) today at private coverage and thought I had found some for around $600 for our family, but then I realized these plans don't cover any maternity or office visits. The plan that does is actually $1200 a month!
So, what's a family to do? I could go back to work and put Eliana in daycare from 8am to 7pm and see my paychecks go to daycare just so we have insurance....but doesn't that picture seem wrong to you? Why should a family that pays property taxes, income taxes, and sales tax be put in a position that of all the help available from the state of Washington, we don't qualify for any of it? Supposedly we make too much. Really? I'd like anyone to come take a stab at paying our mortgage, Craig's child support and student loans, buying groceries and then see if they can find $150 a week (or more) to spend on medical. It's ludicrous. And it seems unfair to me that we, being in a slightly higher income bracket, are not eligible for anything when we in fact are the ones paying higher tax dollars to keep these programs going!
Of course you shouldn't need government medical if you make 6 figures a year, and I can say we are not even close.
With so much money going out the door to medical crap it doesn't leave much left for anything else, especially for my family to do fun things. I'd like to take Eliana to swim lessons, but that costs money. It's hard to come up with money for something as simple as a mommy group. And I feel angry that it's like that for us since we don't get to spend money on fun things (Mazatlan was a gift from family and a major exception to our normal lifestyle). Poor Craig feels defeated half the time that he works so hard (55 hour work weeks lately with NO overtime) and yet our family never gets ahead. I wait for our tax refund every year just to try and pay off the medical that's accrued on our credit card.
The mass majority of my friends have great medical through their husband's employers. They can have babies and pay less than $1000. They get sick or injured and don't think twice about going to the dr. When I was 9 weeks pregnant and had the flu I was majorly dehydrated and felt worse than I had in years. I was worried I'd lose the baby. A nurse friend said she really thought I needed to go in and get hydrated and checked out. Know why I didn't? It would've cost a fortune.
I suppose you could blame us for following God's direction in our lives that I stay home and raise our children.....and I will tell you that at the time our deductible was a little over $3000. Since then it's jumped to $5000.
Right before Elly was born was when the crap hit the fan. Prior to that we had great insurance through Craig then it changed to a high deductible, disaster plan one month before she was born. I had BofA insurance until Elly was 5 months old so her birth didn't cost us much at all. I can say I had no idea how much insurance actually covered. When you have insurance, sure, you look at your explanation of benefits, but unless you're actually getting bills for appointments and lab have no idea how much it costs for people without insurance. And medical care isn't like going to McDonalds where all the prices are listed. You can ask for prices ahead of time but they'll still tell you not to quote them and that it can change based on how the dr codes it for billing, etc.

I feel like I'm resigned to have medical debt and that irritates the crap out of me. None of the options are good at this point; buy individual plans to the tune of $1200 a month, keep paying out of pocket for everything.....the whole situation sucks. And yes I could do a midwife and a home birth, but that's still $3000 and up and doesn't even touch the issue of Craig and Eliana not having medical coverage and the fact that none of us have dental or vision.

I wish Craig had lived here when he was 18 and had been able to get in at the Shipyard or Bangor or somewhere like that. But the sad reality for us is that there's no way we can live on the apprentice wages there (around $15 to start) and it would take at least 5 years for his wages to get back to where they are now. That's the difference between being 31 with a wife and a 3rd kid on the way and being 18 and single. If he knew then what he knows now, right?

The thing I want to remember is that God always provides for us and although we don't have money for what we want, He provides for what we need, right? Right?????  Some days I can positive self-talk myself into smiling and not worrying about it all and then some days like today I just want to scream and punch the lady on the phone line who says, "you make too much money." I just wish this wasn't a constant struggle for us and unfortunately for those in the 'middle class (although according to Obama we're more like low class)' bracket it's a tough pill to swallow. If Craig were to quit his job and go work at Jack in the Box we would qualify for WIC, Basic Health, DSHS, Washington Apple and food stamps. But because he went to school and studied for a specific career and works long hours every day, we can't get any help. It's just so messed up.
Reminds me how I felt in high school when I wasn't eligible for most student loans or grants since I was white and from a middle class family. Nevermind that neither I nor my parents had money to pay for 4 years of college. Therefore I went to OC and only got my AAS. Ok, that's a whole different issue, but you get my point.

I realize I sound a bit bitter and in fact, I am. The whole situation is not fair. To read in Reader's Digest this month the major funding (billions!) that goes to subsidize American farm owners who are in fact deceased, millionaires, or citizens of another country just adds salt to my wounds. There is so much misuse of funding in America and then people like us who truly need it- can't get it. BARF.

Thank you all for letting me vent, it does help a little actually.


  1. have you ever looked at maybe it could help in the future.... with some of these issues. by the way, sorry you are having a rough time :)

  2. We paid out of pocket for Group Health a few years back when I left WaMu and missed the cut-off for insurance at my new job - and it was more affordable than the high deductible insurance we had through Adam's employer. Check it out. Insurance is expensive any way you look at it, but this may be a better option for you than Craigs insurance. We've been very happy with Group Health.