With all of media hype regarding healthcare reform, the perils of socialized medicine and the pending legislation in the House being such a hot topic, I decided to break out some of my old blogs describing my trip through the healthcare and welfare system. After finding myself with health issues, I wrote an eight part series that described the process I was forced to navigate and endure. I have been there and done that. I’m hopeful that somebody might find some of the information and experiences helpful in their quest for answers or search for assistance.
March 1, 2008:
My lab work results came back this week and I consulted with my doctor. He’s been my doctor (PCP- Primary Care Physician) for two months and this was the first time I saw him. Luckily, he turned out to be white. The cost of the laboratory services amounted to nearly $1260. AHCCCS paid the entire amount with no deductible or co-pay. The best news was that I didn’t have any diseases.
My visit to the neurologist was a different story. This skinny light skinned Middle Eastern “Dr. Ahmadieh” walked into the examination room. I was shock to learn that he didn’t know how to work the electronic blood pressure & vital sign machine. He was totally clueless. I showed him how the machine worked and promptly left the building. I wouldn’t let this “alleged” doctor have any part in making a medical decision on my behalf.
On Friday, I went to the dentist, courtesy of AHCCCS. I'm going to need a filling in a molar. The dentist must submit a request to the insurance company for approval. If denied, I'll have to register for a co-payment type plan for the “economically challenged” before they can take care of my tooth. That should take a couple of weeks as long as I manage to stay unemployed.
Insurance companies are sneaky little weasels that don’t want to pay for anything without creating miles of red tape. Since I had to wait, the dentist gladly prescribed some pain killers and an anti-biotic I didn’t really need. This plan is actually better than the one I was paying monthly premiums for at Cardinal Glass Industries. All their plan paid for was an annual cleaning and examination. It didn’t cover very much actual dental work. When I was hired, the HR lady bragged about the employee benefits package. Cardinal is what is known as a “self insured” employer. My intention is to avoid all such employers in the future because their benefits are less than adequate.
The emergency room “patient business services” office gave me a 100% reduction on the $988, I owed them for their services on November 1, 2007. This amount included the deductible and things my health insurance did not cover back when I was gainfully employed. The CGRMC is a “not for profit” facility. I completed a financial assistance eligibility form two weeks ago. I never expected to hear such great news. I had to submit financial statements including last year’s tax returns, current mortgage statements, utility bills and payroll check stubs. My application required a large envelope and two first class stamps to send it all. I’m going to deduct the ink cartridges I had to buy for my printer on next year’s tax return as a medical expense. To my surprise, it was well worth the effort. My insurance carrier already paid the hospital a few thousand dollars, so they faired much better than cases where an illegal alien shows up for treatment and leaves without paying anything. I’m sure my visit was still profitable for the hospital.
I drove by the Cardinal Glass parking lot on the way home from the pharmacy and saw my former “stupervisor” who happened to be 15 minutes late for work. He told me that the entire insulated glass department was “shutting down” (on February 29,2008). I was surprised they weren't already “shut down” since the plant is run like a “Third World” country. He wasn't aware that I had "lawyered up". I guess the notification the HR department received last week from the Industrial Commission regarding my Workers’ compensation hearing didn't become plant gossip as of yet. He asked me how I was doing. I told him that getting free money, free medical care, discounted electricity and free drugs is nothing to complain about.
I think it’s wise to have contacts within former employers that are defendants in pending lawsuits. Having sources of inside information can be helpful. I can also put that contact down on the job search form I have to keep current so I may continue to receive unemployment checks. I file my claim online every Sunday and funds are deposited into my checking account the very next day. It couldn’t get any easier.
In the pre-internet days, one had to complete and mail claim forms, pay for stamps and wait for an irate postal worker to deliver it. Once the check arrived, the recipient would have to make a time consuming trip to the bank.
When I first applied for economic/medical assistance, I was under the false impression that one had to be born into the “system” to receive benefits. As it turned out, anyone who is patient enough to fill out the paperwork and plow through the “red tape” can receive benefits they are “entitled” to. I should caution all Caucasian applicants to make sure that “minority” case workers correctly handle claims. Stay on top of your case at all times. Most of these people were hired due to their ethnicity rather than their ability to do the job. In many cases, they simply hate your guts.
Having a computer, scanner, internet access and a fax machine made it even easier. There is no shame in joining “the chosen” to reap the rewards. I spent over 25 years paying into the system and thought the time to get something back was long overdue. Hopefully, more eligible White People will seek out and take advantage of these government funded programs. The more of us that become a burden to the system, the sooner it will collapse under it’s own weight.
Find Affordable Health Care: http://www.hrsa.gov/
HRSA-supported health centers. Even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Health centers are in most cities and many rural areas. http://ask.hrsa.gov/pc/
The 2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml
Since my parting company with Cardinal Glass, employees at two of their plants suffered some serious injuries. One suffered the amputation of a hand and the other bled to death on the plant floor. They appear to be having a very unsafe year. Both incidents resulted in petty penalties and fines. Many companies are willing to pay the fines because it’s cheaper than actually correcting safety problems. Employers don’t have a problem with gambling with the lives of their employees. During my time at Cardinal, I saw lots of blood spill on the floor. It was a regular event.
After waiting nearly a year, I am presently receiving dental treatment despite the financial hardship it imposes on me. I could commit a crime, go to jail and get the same dentist I have now without having to pay for it. And they say crime doesn’t pay? With the kind of luck I have, I couldn’t get arrested if I tried.
One of my favorite lines from the movie, “American Psycho” is: “I guess I've killed maybe 20 people, maybe 40. I have tapes of a lot of it, uh some of the girls have seen the tapes. I even, um. . .I ate some of their brains, and I tried to cook a little. Tonight I, uh, I just had to kill a LOT of people. And I'm not sure I'm gonna get away with it this time.”