The great health insurance debacle continues.
I received a letter 2 days ago dated 12/16 (last day of open enrollment for coverage starting 1/1), that my health insurance application was rejected due to the form being “old”. Yep. I had questioned the insurance broker in reference to the date on the application and if there was a newer one (there was a discrepancy in one of the plan codes although not mine). It’s a long story involving many emails and phone calls but I was assured by the broker that the MY plan name and number were the same so the application would still be processed. Nope. After cry-panicking, sending an angry email on Saturday night, followed by more crying, I had to pull myself together for a FaceTime call with one of my nephews.
My nephew started by asking me, “What’s happening?” so I scaled it back but explained that I was in a bit of a mess with health insurance and how crazy things were. He repeated back to me “crazy”. Indeed, crazy. I spoke of how the options I had were not even close to what I wanted and all were worse than my current coverage but now another wrench was thrown into the mix. He said something I didn’t quite understand, mentioned Lightning McQueen and talked about things that are “great”. I told him the situation is tricky and he kept saying “tricky” back to me. He then said my name, followed by “Rocky run”, put his hands above his head and started running in circles. Next he dropped to the floor and did his version of Rocky Balboa push-ups (looked more like an impression of a seal). Did I mention my nephew is 2 years old? And it made me laugh and then think. I have the privilege from time to time to speak to people about the evolution of T1D care and technologies, about progress and research, and the most important part… advocacy, I have spoken about the JDRF Ride program and why it is so very dear to me. I get to talk and talk and even tie things into some of my own personal philosophies and parallels with Rocky Balboa. Eye of the Tiger, baby.
My nephew’s advice was solid. This insurance mess is a mess for sure, but I need to keep fighting. This was another round, not the full fight. It’s like athletic training. You keep going and when you hit obstacles, you use your mind and experience to figure out multiple solutions.
I moved on to Plan B yesterday when I’d exhausted everything I could do in this debacle (it was Sunday), I took advantage of this Miami-esque weather we’re having in the North East, put air in the Pinata bike tires, dressed in a costume of Spandex and started pedaling. I worked on Plan E (I already had a rough outline of C and D before I reached the West Side. There were so many tourists near the WTC memorial and most walking in the bike lane. “ON YOUR RIGHT,” was unsuccessful with most people who were not speaking English and I may have sounded like the teacher from Peanuts, “Wha-waaa-whhhha-WAAAAHH” so I decided to take side streets back across the city. What a gift. I saw beautiful graffiti from some of my favorite street artists, cleared my head a bit, smiled.
This morning I started my follow-up calls to my health insurance broker after a night of emails and networking my D plan. My “kill them with kindness rule” had to be shelved for a bit. Emails unanswered, voicemail messages unreturned, cell phone calls and texts done (repeatedly). Couldn’t get my hands on a carrier pigeon (damn those birds are fast). I called the broker company’s main number and then kept dialing extensions of everyone else in that department. Oops. I’m sorry I dialed the wrong extension, I haven’t been able to get through, can you transfer me, I don’t mind waiting, thanks so much for your help. I finished signing all the appropriate forms a few minutes later. Will this situation resolve itself in enough time? I don’t know. Plan C is so close now I could lick it.
Patient advocacy starts with us. Always. Now stick your hands in the air and Rocky Run.