good news and bad news. they seem to be an old married couple in my life these days. always showing up together. i've got to get better at seeing trends, not single events. sometimes the balance sheet looks awfully weighted towards the bad.
it's all perspective, i realize.
so let's start with the good news. OHSU approved my application for financial assistance in their access program at payscale A, which translates to 100%. what that means is for the next 6 months (after which time i will need to reapply) my portion of the bills (excepting co-pays), after the insurance contribution, will be covered by the hospital. my insurance policy covers 90%, so that 10% left over i will now not have to pay. (this does not apply to the outstanding bills from 2007, however.)
that is absolutely cause for celebration. thank-you, universe.
now the bad news: i was hoping they would also approve me to cover the cost of my COBRA insurance payment every month. they didn't. it's a staggering $265 per month. when this whole mess started, i was carrying two policies, the COBRA one and and individual policy from ODS. as you may be aware, health care and insurance in this country is fucked up. for me to buy an individual insurance policy, i cannot have any, repeat, any pre-existing conditions. and certainly not something so prone to reoccurance as breast cancer. but honestly, i was turned down by Blue Cross for being on one anti-depressant. that's like turning someone down for eating breakfast cereal. give me a break! every other person you meet is on some kind of anti-depressant. jeesh.
the ODS policy had a crazy high deductible and wasn't very good. so after 2 months, i dropped the individual one. this was in hopes of being approved by OHSU to cover my COBRA insurance monthly payment. clearly, i am on a much longer breast cancer road than i originally anticipated. and in the long run, the ODS policy was going to cost me more. so ok, good. i got rid of $160 a month by dropping that policy. however, the COBRA policy will only be offered to me for 15 months total. after that? i now have only one choice. no insurance company will sell me a individual policy ever again, so i am put into the oregon state uninsurable pool. the cost for that policy per month will be at least $350. that's $4,200 per year! holy crap. for someone who has been living on about $20,000 a year, that is an impossible sum. no wonder cancer forces many people into bankruptcy.
you see the pressure i am under? somehow i have to beat cancer, keep myself healthy, lose 40 pounds by next december so i can have the reconstruction surgery before the policy runs out and build a thriving business (that will support that insurance policy) in the next 6 months before i am out of money. as i think about starting radiation and the strong possibility that my energy and productivity will go down during treatment, i think, how the hell am i going to do this?
i am nearly having a panic attack just writing that down.
which is, of course, shitty for healing. stress hormones coursing through my system go straight to the cells that are trying to heal and they block them.
breathe, breathe, breathe.
if you read this blog, please leave a comment. i need to know you all are still out there, pulling for me. special note to lisa of salmon poetry and maryam of my marrakesh -you two dear women are my most faithful commenters, so i know you are checking in often. thank-you for your sustaining comments. you have no idea how much they get me through the day.