Irony

The last time I had “real” insurance was in 2000, when I worked for the HMO. My job there ended in September, 2000, due to a layoff because the company closed. I was one of the last three employees left, as I managed the appeals and complaints and I had to stay and make sure claims were paid and everything was handled according to state and Federal regulations.

Once that job ended, I obtained care via the Pueblo County Health Department. This public health entity should be a model for the rest of the country. You go to the administrative offices to sign up. You have to have proof of address and income (if any); however, even if your income is too high to qualify for the discounted program, you can get care with a higher copay. Over the 18 years since the HMO job ended, I received great care from PCHC. I had good providers, the offices are just as nice as any doctor’s office I’ve been in, and for the years my grandson lived with me, my copay for regular visits was $22. I went there because the jobs I have had since 2000 either did not offer benefits at all or they cost too much for me to buy.

When I moved to Denver, I thought surely a big city would have something to rival little Pueblo when it came to public health. Nope. When I went to the clinic for my financial interview, it turned out that I made one thousand dollars a year too much to qualify. There was no discount or just a higher copay. If I wanted care, I had to pay a $90 “deposit” and then be billed another $90 (at least). Lab work was separate, of course. The provider I had in Pueblo kindly wrote me a prescription for the one medication I take for a year. When I saw the provider in Denver, she was reluctant to write more than 3 months without major lab tests, which would have cost approximately $300 on TOP of the over $200 I ended up being billed for the first actual visit. So, a $10 prescription (filled at Walmart) was going to cost me nearly $600. What is wrong with this picture?

Now comes September 2020. The last day at my transcription jobs was September 4. Because of pay lag and cashing out my remaining PTO, I received 2 full paychecks that month. During that time, I applied for Colorado Medicaid. BOOM. As of October 1, 2020, I was immediately accepted for Medicaid. Now ANYTHING I might want to have done, would be covered. Any test, any prescription, any treatment. Now at the point of NO income, suddenly I am eligible for decent coverage. This makes absolutely no sense to me, but I’m not going to turn it down!

Now I have relocated to Texas. At the moment, I am still not working, so I am going to apply for Texas Medicaid. We’ll see how difficult they will try to make it. I have to say, Colorado has streamlined many of their bureaucratic functions to be manageable. I wonder how Texas is going to stack up.

I’ll keep you posted.

One thought on “Irony

  1. Hey GG,
    Yes, the whole stupid system is… stupid! I had decent benefits before I retired. I worked at a hospital and you’d think they would be the best benefits in the world, but trust me, they were merely decent. When I retired my pension was so little money that I qualified for great rates through the Affordable Care Act. Thank you President Obama! The rates have been well within my means and ordinary preventative care was paid in full. Mind you, anything requiring follow up was extra and even a little steep (hello lab work). But, for a healthy adult woman in her 60’s, it was a bargain. I will never understand how people think that having decent universal health care is a bad thing. This country is confused and confusing.
    Good luck in Texas!

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