College Graduate Seeking Health Insurance Coverage
Graduating with honors, but without insurance
In December 2012, after six years of battling multiple careless professors and one careless parent, against the odds, I graduated from my university with honors at age 25. I began applying for jobs immediately while I awaited to receive confirmation that I had graduated. I have yet to receive a job with my degree, but my diploma did arrive.
The following year, I lost my prescription coverage. I paid almost $200 per month for what I prefer to call "hormone pills" considering "birth control" is not merely used to prevent pregnancy, but helps with an endless variety of conditions from regulating one's cycle to alleviating cramps to preventing cysts and so on. With coverage, it's $20 each. [I would explain why generic is not always the best choice, but that's for another article.] After a few months, I found a cheaper alternative way to access brand name birth control for the same price I would pay with insurance.
I remember in one of my feminism classes some women debated with our male peers about the unreasonable price for "birth control." I didn't understand, then, why one classmate was complaining about having to pay $200 per pack. Now, I know.
Do you have a low income insurance?
New part time job: Professional Insurance Applyer
When I knew I would lose the rest of my coverage just in time for 2015, I began trying to apply early. Apparently, I would have to wait, but it was "guaranteed" I would receive it. So, come December, when I was losing it, my mom helped me apply over the phone. Then, we just had to wait. When we never heard back, we called again. They told us they didn't have the information. So, we applied again, over the phone. Another while later, we called back, and it was the same story. When we didn't have the patience to apply over the phone a third time, they suggested doing it online.
I applied online about three times. Each time, it said to wait thirty days for it to process. So, I did. When I called, they said there was no record of it.
It was April 2015 when my mom said, "Let's fill out the hard copy and send it certified, so they have to sign for it." Shortly after sending it, we received a call confirming that it had arrived. They told us which papers they needed, so we faxed them over, and I received a confirmation slip just in case they tried to deny that. Another few weeks later, I called to make sure they received it, and an automatic message informed me they were reviewing it. Finally, someone called me and sent me a letter with a policy number.
What is it like when you make a medical appointment?
June 1st: Seeing the light...Sort of
Over the phone, my mom learned what all needed to happen to choose the right coverage, and eventually we were told in a few more weeks, on June 1st, I would receive my new insurance card and a list of doctors I can choose from. Well, I received the card when they said I would, but we had to call, again, for the book.
After I knew I had Medicaid, it was suggested to call each of my doctors to see if they take it. I called my primary, my dentist, my eye doctor, and my gynecologist; none of them would accept it.
The book says "January 2015." That means, supposedly, it has been updated with that information. What I have found this past week is that six months can really make a difference. I have crossed off several listings for doctors who are one, no longer there, or two, no longer accept new patients—probably because so many people have been without coverage, until now. So, this new giant phone book isn't as promising as it pretends to be. It mocks me.
"Fifty-four percent of primary care doctors and 56.5 percent of specialists in New Jersey said they did not plan to accept any new Medicaid patients in the coming year — more than any other state, according to a July report in the monthly publication Health Affairs."
Have you heard of Medicaid?
Not Alone...By Far
When I tried to fast-track my search for Medicaid insurance doctors in New Jersey by going online, I came across an article that opened my eyes to the reality of the situation: I'm in the worst state for someone with Medicaid. Most NJ doctors refuse to join the Medicaid wagon.
According to salary.com, doctors in Trenton median an income of $218,629. I will not assume this is true universally, but if that's a median, that's a lot more than an average salary in Jersey of someone without an M.D. I could understand the difficulty of working for less pay, but considering how well they seem to be doing with those who don't need Medicaid, I am puzzled as to why doctors would not find it in their duty as a care provider to assist those who need it most.
What do you think of doctors refusing Medicaid?
Perhaps, more offices are working on adding Medicaid to their accepted insurance, but so far only one office informed me that they were. The others simply said, "No, I'm sorry, we don't accept that." So, for people who previously had very decent doctors because they were still young enough to be on their parents' insurance, people my age who can no longer have that "privilege"—honestly, a decent doctor shouldn't have to be a "special" privilege—are feeling pressure not only with failing to start their careers, but to get on their own two feet with a place to live and even something as vital as insurance.
Our generation is screwed. Plain and simple. So far, in the past week, I have only made two appointments out of four doctors, and when I go for my physical it won't be with my assigned primary because she is booked until October, but bless her for taking on Medicaid patients! Without a decent job that comes with health benefits, we're all fighting each other in this quest for something as simple and as necessary as our health.
© 2015 social thoughts