Saturday, March 3, 2012


(by Jacquelin de Leon)

As of March 1, I still had not heard back from the State of Texas regarding their Medicare Savings Program which helps poor people on Medicare pay their monthly premiums (around $125) plus copays. I sent in the application a month ago, when Medicare recommended I do so, with Bart at Meals On Wheels helping me fill it out -- it's a long and tedious form. Bart had recommended if I didn't hear a response by March 15, to start making calls, but I started this week because, well, I've learned the hard way about how poorly our so-called safety net works.

After many calls yesterday, I finally talked with someone at DHSS who pulled up my file and announced they have never received my application. I can (must) reapply, on paper only (they don't have an online option) but the waiting period before they approve assistance is 45 days after they receive the application. Which means as of April 1, Social Security will begin deducting the Medicare premiums from my monthly disability checks. Furthermore, it takes Social Security 120 days after Texas approves me for assistance (if they do) before they will stop these deductions, and they will not reimburse what they have already taken out.

Further, if I require any medical care before this five month period plays out, I'll have to also pay a significant copay for such treatment, lab work, equipment, etc, averaging around 20%. All of that would have been covered by the Medicare Savings Program, which I did apply for as soon as I learned about it.

I am depressed and angry about another five month delay in getting a scooter or serious rehab. I cannot possibly afford the copay without assistance. MAP will end April 1st, and so will my care from Total Health Partners, meaning I will have to have home physician and nursing care through agencies that accept Medicare by then. I will have to keep my expenses to an absolute minimum from April 1 until September 1. I have to stay out of the hospital, healthy and do exercises on my own, without progressing to transfers most likely for another half year.

The only good news is that the Medicare prescription drug plan was a separate form which did go through (online), and I have already been approved for total assistance there. My estimated $1500 per month prescription costs will therefore run around $50, what I am paying now. This is in fact a very bright exception.

Margot looked hopeless when I told her. She isn't, of course, nor am I, but I hate how it takes a toll on her as it does me. We are emotionally involved beyond all limits, which is a second-by-second source of joy, and the downside is that fear is also shared. The evils of our health care system are keeping Americans imprisoned and unable to even consider social justice most of the time. And yes, Obama sold us out on this before the election ever happened -- he made a deal with the insurance industry to gain their support well in advance of November. I do take that personally. He is not a progressive. And saying he's better than the frothing fascists running against him is no praise at all -- do you hear the insanity in that kind of defense?

In other news, Dinah is ecstatic over a new fish toy, plays fetch with me and it often, brings it to where she sleeps or lays it by my pillow at night, a beloved binky in her life. The quinoa and red lentil stew sent my glucose through the roof, so I will give the rest to Tammi and try other recipes. I am proud of my sugar control and intend to keep it as a bedrock of my health. My recent blood work was all good. I am on a steep learning curve about Midlands geography and history, and Margot is gleefully feeding my map addiction. And it's full moon in Leo, our annual Crow Moon. Onward as the way opens.

No comments: