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Close call of the health insurance kind

July 2nd, 2013 at 05:45 pm

If you recall, my COBRA was set to expire June 30. I planned to get onto the Charter Oak plan without a lapse in coverage, but things didn’t go exactly as planned.

As it happened, my premium increased for the month of June, from $562/month previously to about $770 a month. The COBRA rep I spoke to suggested that if I didn’t think I’d need, or could avoid incurring any healthcare expenses for the month of June, that I could save myself the $770 by simply not paying the premium at the start of the month as I usually do. He explained that if I DID need health insurance, I would still be covered for June as long as my premium payment was postmarked June 30; if it turned out I didn’t need health coverage, I could just skip it since I knew (or thought I knew) I’d be getting onto the state Charter Oak plan.

Would you believe that during the very last week of June I started wondering if I could have Lyme disease (again)? I was feeling very headachey, and the headaches didn’t go away. I’ve had Lyme 3 times already so I know what it feels like (for me, anyway). By this past Saturday, June 29, I was sure I had it. But it was already too late to mail in the premium since it was Saturday afternoon and the post office closes at 1 pm so no postmark. Not that I wanted to spend the $770 anyway.

So….I began to worry… a lot….over the weekend, wondering how I was going to get treatment without health insurance. There’s actually a health clinic in town for people with no health insurance but you have to be under certain income limits. I would be borderline eligible; they determine it on a case by case basis. They’re free, which is great, but they’re only open on Wednesdays. So I was thinking of trying to get in there, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be until Wednesday (tomorrow) or possibly the following Wednesday, too late for something like Lyme where early treatment is very important.

I even called the local hospital to see what the cost would be; I basically just needed the antibiotics for 3 weeks, which I know from previous experience cost all of $15. They explained the emergency room is very expensive: $600.

OK, forget that.

So this past Monday, after getting no answer at the free clinic, I called my regular primary care doctor and explained my situation, that because of various paperwork delays by Charter Oak, I’m not yet covered by them and essentially am in the no man’s land of no insurance. She said it would cost me $75 to see my PCP, which I thought was actually a bargain. I figured it would be something like $200. Not only that, but she actually had an opening that afternoon.
I found that out 8:30 am, just before I needed to head to work. I left work early that day for the doc appointment and met with my PCP, who’s actually an RN with prescribing ability. I’ve been seeing here for probably 15 or 20 years now. When she walked in I could tell immediately she’d lost a ton of weight…85 lbs, to be exact. We talked quite a bit about that at first, which was good, in a way, because I wanted to warm her up to my proposal that she dispense with the blood test for the Lyme disease and just give me the prescription, to save my money.

She agreed to do that. The blood work, again for an uninsured individual, would no doubthave been several hundred dollars. As it was, those $15 antibiotics wound up costing me $124 because I lack health insurance.

I also spent another $150 on 4 different herbs recommended as part of a protocol by a well-known herbalist who wrote a book about beating lyme disease with herbs. I’m not a huge believer in alternative therapies, but I do feel that these herbs helped me get rid of lyme in the past, and I’ve heard enough horror stories about intractable Lyme to know I don’t want to take any chances with it.

So my total out of pocket for the Lyme, unfortunately, has been $350, still less than that $770 premium for the month of June, but probably not worth it given all my anxiety about my health.
These are things that the average person who’s always been covered by an employer health plan never even thinks about.

Here are some of the houses my friend and I visited during this past weekend’s House & Garden Tour in my town:











There were just 6 properties. In addition to the expected old colonials and saltboxes was a nice log cabin.

2 Responses to “Close call of the health insurance kind”

  1. ROXY1976 Says:

    IT IS VERY BEAUTIFUL THERE! VERY NICE PICTURES.

  2. Kiki Says:

    Gorgeous houses and gardens.

    How long before you know about the insurance approvals?

    And so sorry to hear of the lyme disease recurrence.

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