by Joyce...Sarah and I got up bright and early this morning. It was the day of our personal interview to enroll Sarah with Medicaid. I've mentioned before that this one subject is the source of great stress for me. I doubt that I can articulate with words why I have been avoiding this for so long.
But the cold hard reality is this...my Cobra benefits went from $1470 per month in July to $2245 and as of January 1 they will increase to $2473 per month. That is $29,676.00 out of pocket per year for health care. No wonder there is never any money in our checking account. Actually, the only reason we still have Cobra is Sarah. Did you know that if you are on Cobra and you have a family member with a disability you can extend your benefits an additional 18 months? Yes that's correct. The kicker...for that privilege you get to pay 150% of the premium.
Still, that little perk will run out eventually. So we will have to find health insurance on our own soon. Which means we will have to go through underwriting and with that discriminating diagnosis of 758.0(Down syndrome) we will be in tier 22 again. And the premium for that will likely be well over $3500 a month. At that rate, we will have to sell the house just to pay for health care. So....off to the welfare department we go...
...only the welfare department isn't called that anymore. No siree, it is now the Neighborhood Family Service Center. A rather attractive looking building I decide. Sarah and I walk in as naive as two young pups. The first thing that greets us is a big ole metal detector with three armed security officers. Not intimated in the slightest, Sarah hands them her purse then walks through rather proudly.
I'm not so lucky. Buzzzzzzz...goes the alarm. One officer hands me a basket for my keys. Buzzzzzz....it goes off again. "Do you have a watch on?" I'm asked. Off it comes. Buzzzzzz....once again. "Any metal on your belt?" No, I'm not wearing one," I meekly reply. The guy looks me up and down, down and up and back down again. "Must be the zipper on your boots." Oh great, I say to myself, as I look for the nearest chair to sit to take them off. I know if I bend down to take them off I'll faint for sure, my body is already giving me not so gentle reminders that it is feeling the stress of being here. "Go ahead, come on in. Don't worry about the boots," I hear in a deep booming voice.
Now that we are in, what happens? I look around. No clear directions in the form of signs, so I take the letter back over to the security guards and ask where we should go. "Stand in that line over there," he directs. Great. The line with twelve people standing before me. I find a place for Sarah to sit and then take my place. The longer I wait, the hotter I get. So I start to peel off the layers until I'm down to just my shirt. After about twenty five minutes, I've reached the front of the line. I wave Sarah over. "Next," we hear from a lady down the way.
Sarah confidently walks up and hands the woman her state ID. Then the letter. The woman starts to enter something into the computer. Then she gets a confused look on her face. She hits a few more letters on the keyboard. She asks Sarah her name...like somehow it was going to be different than the ID and the name printed on the letter. Then she looks at the calendar.
"Sorry, your appointment is for tomorrow"...