Just last year, after fighting for an associate’s degree and then fighting the job market, I landed a job with insurance. It was the first time I had insurance in 16 years. My various illnesses then became so bad that I could no longer work. I lost the job and the insurance that came with it.
I tried to collect the private disability insurance that I had paid for every week, but because I had signed the policy in December of 2013, before the new healthcare laws went into effect, the pre-existing clause was still legal. After months of going back and forth with the insurance company. Running around getting medical records, sending them papers from my former employer, after signing a piece of paper that gave them access to any and all medical records that have ever been collected on me, they told me they came to the conclusion that I was indeed disabled, but they wouldn’t pay because of a technicality. Essentially, they made me run around and wait five months to tell me something that they should have said in five seconds.
After my disability was denied, I tried to apply for insurance through the exchange, but because I qualified for Medicaid, they would not let me buy a policy. Apparently, if a person qualifies for Medicaid, they have to apply for and then be denied it before they can buy an insurance policy on the exchange. It can take up to six months to get a decision from Medicaid. Also, and here’s the really fun part, in my case the Medicaid decision is attached to my Social Security Disability claim, which could take a year and a half before it’s settled. I am suicidal and physically ill, and I can’t get insurance, for up to a year and a half. It doesn’t matter that I’m willing to pay for a private policy. It doesn’t matter that my conditions can not wait for a year and a half.
I looked for something I could do in the meantime, but there was nothing. There is no coverage available for people stuck between Medicaid and the exchange. This is the system that is supposed to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens? This is what we came up with? And people wonder why I feel hopeless all the time.