You Won’t Need to Visit Me In Jail, Afterall

jailLast fall, during the Government Shutdown Fiasco, I made a decision.

Come 2013 tax filing time, if the powers-that-be dictated I owed them tax payments,

“I’m Not Giving The Money To Them.”

I made plans to donate any amount specified as ‘owed’ to our local Fire Department, Road & Bridge Department, Food Bank, Ladies Auxiliary, American Legion  – in short, I was going to give the money to the folks that actually provide the Emergency and Social Well Being services federal & state governments claim they provide to the vulnerable members of my community –  namely, children, the disabled, elderly, those injured/maimed from service to our government and families left without a Head of Household due to those Killed in the Line of Duty.

I gleefully imagined making a photocopy of said donation checks and Photoshopping in Red over the top of them,

“I gave my taxes directly to my local good-works organizations, eliminating the need for you to budget, argue about, hold umpteen votes in Congress & Senate about, shutdown operations during a stalemate, regulate and do associated accounting for – please send me the $2.8 gazillion I just saved you by streamlining your processes”

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get much work this past year, so I don’t owe any taxes – My “Cut-My-Nose-Off-To-Spite-My-Face” stand against those who fail to do their duty will have to wait…

or be fulfilled in some other outlandish manner…

Still, the thought of actually doing this brought a smile to my face and cheered me every time I thought about it the past 3 months – I got vast enjoyment envisioning the posting of what I did and having untold thousands of others downloading the Photoshop Red Overlay to attach to their own tax filing documentation –

Ah well… it was fun while it lasted…

I’m somewhat relieved because I don’t like orange and look a fright in it…

My mother is vastly relieved – she has to live in this community and having a daughter in jail for non-payment of taxes is not in keeping with her idea of ‘maintaining a good reputation’.

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On the same general topic, it turns out Colorado did finally approve me for Medicaid under the new guidelines – I received my card, but have not used it for any services.   Basically, because this coming year, if:

  • I get the hours at my part-time job that have been promised AND
  • I pick up any new website customers or get new work from existing ones AND
  • My brother or mother share their good fortune with me, via a gift as they have done in the past AND
  • My ex shares his good fortune of overtime with me, as he has done previously

THEN – If All these things happen in one month, I could end up over the maximum amount I can make and qualify for benefits.  Funny, because if you average out my yearly income to 12 months and strip away gifts from family, I never even come close – but that’s not how they look at it, best as I can tell.

(You have to report ALL income – and oops! forgot to include the $7 I won from stocking-stuffer scratch tickets – who cares, that was in December and thus, not countable towards 2014 – – Santa, probably best not to bring me lottery tickets, in case I won $500 and had a heart attack, all at the same time….)

My doctor doesn’t take Medicaid…

My one prescription for thyroid medicine is doable, without using Medicaid benefits.

I live in fear of using my benefits and finding out I used them in a possible overage month – I can see the headlines now –

“Jailed for Medicaid Fraud – How One Woman Cost Taxpayers $626”

The above amount calculated thusly:

  • Regular doctor visit ($73 /visit, pay-at-time-of-service discount rate as a goodwill, community support gesture from my physician)
  • x2 (annual visit in August 2014, oops, I got mastoiditis in January 2014)
  • x4 (to account for regular fees charged by providers to cover associated “f**cking with insurance/Medicaid filing costs“)
  • Annual prescription costs

Alas, I’ve decided to keep that card tucked away – to not scour the slopes & plains of Colorado for the one doctor who will take new patients who have Medicaid.

Instead, I consider my card a sort of Life Insurance Policy (which I cannot ever get real life insurance affordably, because I’ve had a stroke).

I no longer worry some unforeseen catastrophe will happen and the EMTs will disregard my DNR tattoo, leaving my mom and brother with untold medical bills which exponentially accumulated before they mercifully pulled the plug on me –

I just need to remember not to have any catastrophes in the same month small good fortune arrives – if great good fortune should arrive, I’ll do my patriotic duty regarding rising government healthcare costs and dutifully purchase regular health insurance  – –

🙂

I did have to laugh – the paperwork accompanying the Medicaid card made sure to inform me, repeatedly, how illegal it is for me to use my card to pay for the treatment of others – heck, a cursory search last October didn’t net  anyone locally who will accept it as payment for me, let alone someone else…

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My Liberal/Democrat friends are disappointed the changes to healthcare law didn’t make huge changes for me – although I try to make them see how much I am benefiting – I no longer have to pay a healthy premium each month for insurance that doesn’t really pay anything until I’ve satisfied a $10,000 deductible.

And, I’m not getting fined by the powers that be, for being irresponsible and not having any health coverage at all – –

On the other end of the political scale in my circle, I believe there is some quiet glee that the Affordable Health Care Act is costing gazillions of astrobucks without making any difference – again, they choose not to look at the issue as I do.

The nice thing about having a diverse circle of friends is your ability to see the world from a myriad of perspectives.

I still think my perspective is best, but it’s nice to know I’m not narrow-minded because I failed to broaden my horizons –

I do it on purpose with a full knowledge of vast, opposing opinions….

🙂

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Things must be getting better for some, because I’ve had the opportunity for more work these past few weeks – I hope the trend continues throughout 2014 –

I’d love to make HUGE donations to my local community next year –

I’m sure you’re disappointed there will be no need for you to bake brownies and bring to the jail for me…

And, I still have the Photoshop Overlay – which took me around 30 minutes to make –  would hate to see that time wasted…

Never Fear, there’s always Next Year!

P.S. Yes,  I’m still slogging away at archives of those blogs I follow – if I wasn’t so rusty at writing, I would have made it to a few more today – alas, 25+ revisions of above article and time to log out and get ready for work – – -25?  really?   Man, do I need to get back to writing – – – and quit Saving Draft every whip stitch…  🙂

Affordable Healthcare Act – The Ideal and The Reality

Throughout October and November, I experienced the reality of the new healthcare act.

I believe that public perceptions are affected by personal experience shared –

Hence, I’m gonna tell you all about it….

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For the record – After my stroke and divorce, the only health insurance I qualified for was a state (Colorado) run program for those with pre-existing conditions. I was lucky to live in a state that provided this option.

Because I still was renting a room from my mom at the time of my application, I had to report both her earnings and mine – even though I did not have any access what so ever to her earnings, either through good graces or by law.

Surprisingly, I still qualified for the reduced price of $154.76/month of basic coverage, with a $10,000 deductible – which meant, I could go for any office visit or yearly check-up i.e. if I have pneumonia, but anything other than wellness/yearly/routine fell under deductible.   My rates raised to $189.64 in August this year because you miraculously become a higher risk the second you turn 45 years of age.

(The company I purchased from will no longer be in business come 12/31/13 – for the scoop on how they handled the customer service relations for their impending closure Click Here)

On October 1st, I dutifully created an account and logged into the New Marketplace for Health Insurance for my state. (connectforhealthcolorado.com)

If I told the truth about my monthly income, the calculator referred me to another state run site to apply for Medicaid.

(I’m lucky, Colorado chose to embrace the new Medicaid income guidelines – many states did not and those who live in those states are just as screwed as they were before the law took affect.)

I dutifully apply for Medicaid on October 1st.   I answer honestly about who lives in my household.  The website form automatically signs my son up for Medicaid, because he lives in my house, even though he still has insurance through his Dad.

(and, another example of my ex’s generosity, if the laws allowed ex-wives to be kept on policies, I wouldn’t even have to be doing this shit….)

Some two weeks after submitting my application, I receive form letter pages from the county/state agency requesting proof of a variety of things – i.e. income, citizenship, etc.    After a phone call to straighten out that I’m not applying for my son, just for me, I learn that the web form is not functioning the way those who actually have to deal with it’s repercussions wish it would and I inform the gal that if the state ever wishes to hire someone who builds tools that End Users Love, please call me, I have a good track record and need work – she is friendly and polite even in face of my arrogance.

I get off the phone and submit the requested information.

Note – they have my divorce decree showing my child support though I never submitted it – they can view my bank records to make sure I”m not lying about my income, but they can’t tell if I’m a US citizen?!?  They are the state, but they can’t confirm me or my son’s birth records?  (yes, we were both born here in Colorado)

Hey, Big Brother, falling down on the job, there!

After jumping through the hoops, I’m informed that I do not qualify for Medicaid – because the software is basing it off the old income standards and not the ones that are in effect come January 2014.

(Do not ask what the old income qualifications are – neither I, nor anyone else knows – come Jan. 2014, if I make less than $3,118, for my household, according to the marketplace website, I qualify – according to the Medicaid website, I must make less than $1,781/month, because even though I house, clothe and feed my son, he is not counted as a person, unless I sign him up for Medicaid.)

Even though I qualify come January, my application is denied for now.  I”m instructed to re-apply January 1st (or the first day their government run offices are open) and yes, they will have on file everything I’ve submitted and it will go through, no problemo.

I must interrupt myself here to tell you, the case worker assigned to my case was Awesome!   She, a worker bee, is just as frickin’ frustrated as I am.   She was ticked that what they were told in ‘training’ for the new system and what’s actually occurring are two different things.   She specifically asked during training if the new system would allow early registration of the new 01/14 guidelines and was told “Yes”– she’s not a happy camper – – I told her it was okay – that those who build these tools will say anything to sell them, because they aren’t the poor saps that actually have to use them everyday….

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The plot thickened when I learned if I didn’t sign up for some kind of coverage by Dec. 10, 2013, then my coverage would be delayed on starting by Jan. 1st.

And, since I can’t apply until Jan. 1st, but Medicaid can take up to 60 days for a decision, it seems that I may be uninsured for a month or two – –

Thank god the law says the companies and government can no longer penalize me for daring to go uninsured awhile….

When I was 18, my boyfriend’s brother borrowed my car – – -and blew the engine in it – – I lived in town and walked to work, so whaddo I care?   I didn’t own/drive a car for 18 months.   When I purchased another used car (paid cash, no loan) and went to insure it, they were going to charge me a higher rate, because I had been “Uninsured” for 18 months – even though I wasn’t even driving a frickin’ car to be insured – – When I pointed this out, the agent said, “Where is that car now?  The one that you used to own?”  “At my Mom and Dad’s – they towed it home and there it has sat, waiting to be hauled to the scrap recycler.  Too expensive to repair.”  

“Well, see,” she said,“It should have been insured,  What if visitors to your Mom and Dad’s played on your car and got hurt?

And I said, “Isn’t that covered by their ‘Homeowners, We Pay For Other People’s Stupidity‘ policy?”

Seriously, who the fuck plays around and injures themselves on a 1979 VW parked on the back 40 acres of a place in the middle of Nowhere Eastern Colorado?

After much discussion, the agent removed my ‘elevated’ rate increase, because I dared to not insure what I wasn’t even using.  I’m sure this is because the discussion lasted past 5 o’clock, she was dating a good friend of mine and I bought her pizza and beer for supper….

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Alas, this is all irrelevant now –

Since my hiring of my two, part-time jobs, I will be, for at least 3 of the next 6 months, $34 over the maximum income levels I can have to qualify for Medicaid.

The cheapest insurance policy I saw, after tax credits, was more than $34/month.

I’ll keep you posted, but I don’t hold out much hope for me.

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I will say that I support and defend the Affordable Healthcare Act.  I don’t care if Obama or someone else tried to make changes to our healthcare system in this country, they were doomed to criticism and failure – – Our country has chosen to walk the line in Twilight Zone – that thin line between State Provided and Free Enterprise healthcare.

Each system has it’s pro’s and con’s – – If you don’t believe me, then watch “Sick Around the World”

Anyone who tried to get us moved to one system or the other would have experienced defeat – for there are those (hardworking Americans/entitled rich) who can afford their own healthcare and abhor the “Lazy, Good-For-Nothing Poor” milking the system whose views are just as ardently opposed by those (Social Justice/pinko commies) who believe everyone is entitled to basic benefits regarding health.

I may not agree with every line of the law or the implementation of it – I may not agree with the disparity caused by states exercising their 10th amendment rights in regards to income guidelines and paying for their own marketplace infrastructure – but if we are going to pretend like we have a democratic, free & advanced society, health care reform, of some sort, had to happen and had to be watered down enough to frickin’ try to please everyone.

I dare anyone to come up with a comprehensive bill that would have passed uncontested and been applauded by the majority – Oh, in case you are thinking you’re up to the challenge, it had to actually make a difference for the majority of American Citizens….

Until we find our way, we must walk through experimentation – and yes, not everyone will be taken care of – but dammit, it’s better to try, fail and fix, than it is to do nothing at all….

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As for those who met with the software programmers and/or the programmers themselves –

YOU GUYS ARE IN THE DOG HOUSE!

You clowns failed to provide a satisfactory experience for those employees and customers who use these tools everyday.

Politicians – Please take a refresher course in “Learning Worker’s Who Actually Implement the Laws you Pass” and “Geek Speak 101”

Programmers, attend “Understanding Your True Customer, 101”

‘Nuff said…

Wow, Really?!?

This blog is for entertainment purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions held by WordPress, Bill Gates, Dell Computer, the local electrical or internet companies, the guy who built the house this article was created in ( who is either over 113 years old or dead), nor any of the multitude of ensuing remodel and maintenance contractors over the past 100 years, local waste management personnel  or even, the author of said blog.

I’m absolutely loving the freedom from litigation fears by  including disclaimers instead of the costly and tiring processes of  either incorporating myself, keeping attorneys on $10,000,000 per month retainers, hiring lobbyists or running for public office.  Why, oh why did I not think of this sooner? And did I cover all the bases?

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Yes, I know, I was going to dive back in and get manuscript 2 ready to deliver next week as well.   No, the dishes are still sitting in the sink with now-lukewarm soapy water soaking them (a little while longer and I shan’t have to scrub loose congealed ketchup at all!).

I did run downtown to check the mail and pick up a six-pack of Miller Lite because I want to celebrate having completed my first manuscript – at least until the beta-readers and proofreader laugh and say, “Really? You really think you’re done?  Amazing!”

I did not shower, but I did doff a pair of jeans instead of sweatpants – best to re-enter the world of reality a step at a time, says I.

Good News at the Post Office!  My Jerusalem Artichokes arrived for fall planting.

Less than good news – My current insurance provider has sent me information…

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Yes, yes, we’ll get to the artichokes here in a minute.

In January of this year, I received notice that the organization through which I purchase my insurance, in fact, the only place I could even get insurance through after my stroke and divorce (thanks, Colorado, for being proactive with your implementation of Affordable Healthcare and allowing me to not burden my child, my mother, brother or the guy I shagged in 1989 with anything more than, say, $30,000 – $100,000 debt, should I suddenly die from a precise strike of lightening from above and be tended to by those who choose to ignore the DNR I have tattooed on my chest – yes, that’s Do Not Resuscitate), sent me a notice that insurance premiums would not be increasing this upcoming fiscal year, which starts on July 1, 2013.

(State budgets have been allowed to change their fiscal years to run from July 1st – June 30th and federal budgets from October 1st – September 30th – however, my local utility providers and bank do not like it when I try to move my ‘monthly obligations’ out by even 3 days, because I’ve run out of money before the end of the month – where, oh where is the justice?

I also recently asked if I could just not pay my bills for awhile, because I’m filled with doubt over how well currently passed legislation is really going to serve the nation and consider it my patriotic duty to renege on said obligations – a standoff which will magically result in me knowing all and figuring out the mathematical formula that explains the entire frickin’ universe and will result in Utopia!  Take that, Einstein!

Sadly, they didn’t buy in and support that story either.)

Back to the original story – sorry about that….

January 2013 – “Good News!  No increase in premiums to the only health insurance you qualify for”.

(Ladies, and perhaps gents too,  if ever you go through a divorce, make sure not to have a stroke until after you’ve been kicked off your spouse’s policy and your new one has been in effect for 100 years or more – this gives technology upgrades time to erase your pre-existing condition and every statistician who knew of your bad behavior time to die, leaving you golden..)

August 2013 Financial records account reconciliation – “Hey, DumbArse – you’re off by $34.98!   Scratch “CPA” from your possible careers list.”

HA, In Your Face, software!!  Not my fault – my insurance premium EFT went from $154.76 to $189.74  (and before you start thinking about how lucky I am – this coverage carries a $10,000.00 deductible and while I can go to the doctor and pay $25 for an appointment to see what’s wrong, it does not cover any of the blood labs or other expensive tests needed by the doctor to guess at what’s wrong….Happily, my doctor agreed to see me sans insurance if I just pay him $70 cash per visit – If I can keep some semblance of healthy, his deal is a better one than the insurance companies…)

The following is a paraphrase of actual communication – I can do this because I placed the disclaimer at the top of the page and if you skipped it and read the rest, not my problem.

Me:

Dear Insurance Company – I received notice earlier this year there was not going to be any raise in premiums, and yet your recent EFT draft reflects a $34.98 change in price – an EFT you demanded could only come from my personal checking account, not a credit card where I could actually cancel my subscription and have some actual rights regarding a disagreement in charges and contracts – while I realize this may seem not that big a deal, it is severely testing my budget and combined with electrical usage to keep fans running so my house is a comfortable 96 degrees instead of 120 this past month, I’m struggling to cover all bases.  Can you please advise if this is a mistake (yes, please say it’s a mistake and you’re returning that $35 dollars immediately) or explain why the increase?

Their reply:

If you would have fully read your 4pt sized font manual regarding your coverage, you would have realized that now that you are 45 years old, you are much, much more unhealthy and thus a higher risk for us, which means we can legally deduct electronically from your checking account any durn amount we want, because we warned you and quite frankly, now that you’re over the hill and not likely to snare a billionaire playboy for a husband, you’re lucky we charged you only $34.98 extra.  (Where is the gratitude these days?)

It does not count that you’ve already had a stroke and no explanation given as to why and for all we know, you might just drop dead (after $237,000 worth of intervention care trying to keep your worthless carcass alive, of course) at any moment – the fact remains, because you will be 45 years old for approximately 18 days this month, we can now charge you $34.98 more for this month and every month following.

Me:

Thank you for the information.   Alas, I cannot go into further debt and realize that though I’m too late to cancel my coverage in the manner you require (30+ days notice) for the month of September, which I pre-pay you for the end of August, please cancel my insurance, effective for the first of October.

And the waiting for the cancellation letter began.

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September 30th – the insurance company attempts an EFT for the premium of insurance I cancelled over 40+ days ago.    I pay the stop payment fee to the bank.   I use the extra money saved to catch up on my utility bills and buy better food for consumption.

I take full responsibility for spending days writing, in some small attempt to put some product into our capitalistic society that is worth something to another consumer.  I confess to using a portion of my grocery budget to purchasing dirt and seeds to grow a garden at some point in time and to willfully wasting $84 on booze and nicotine to calm my stressed nerves.  I figure it’s cheaper, in the long run, than storming a local business that receives government funding, and really, wouldn’t you agree,  bullets are so expensive these days….

October 1st – I try to see what insurance I can get now – If I am truthful about my monthly income, I’m directed to another website to apply for Medicaid.   If I lie and buy insurance, will they cancel it because I lied about how much I make?

I decide not to risk it.

I apply for Medicaid via another website and check the “Food Stamps” and “Back to work Assistance” program for the hell of it.   Heck, aren’t all my Liberal, Democrat, Republican, Protestant, Catholic, Agnostic friends urging me to take advantage of tax-based benefits I’ve worked for many years to support?

Funny how friendship and knowing someone’s story crosses every political and religious divide….

I decide to apply for everything and let the chips fall where they may.

I find out, once I’ve submitted my application and am now actually allowed to view the secret caverns that tell you what the Poverty Line is and what actual income qualifies you for what, that the Return to Work Program only applies to anyone making less than $248 per month.   Hmmm…don’t want them to think I’m some deadbeat trying to work the system (exactly, how many workable hours a day do these deadbeats have to work this system?   I’m worn out already….)

I try to amend my application and have crashed the system. 

I call to confess my sins…

“Please, please, just let me get good enough health coverage to protect my family from my sins and give me enough money to hire an attorney to draft a request that will stand up in court stating, “I’m no longer of use to the common good.   Please, please, just let me die – preferably by an injection that allows me to float on the magic carpet ride – do not make me die of slow starvation.”

That is all I ask for.   The Social Services lady is not impressed.   She sternly warns me of the implications of trying to get more than is my due.   I’m instructed to amend my application.

Hey!  I can log in now!   Apparently, the state has used WordPress and W3 Total Word Cache and forgot to set caching from 3,000,000 years to 15 minutes –

Yep…um…no… still not letting me change my application to just those things I qualify for – Medicaid –  and I’ll have to prove that in my best month for the last year, I’ve sustained my household of 2 housed in something other than a card board box under a bridge on around $1,300/month – The New Medicaid charts say I can actually make double that for a household of one – Nearly Quadruple that for a household of two – but, alas, $1,000/month is my only guaranteed income for the forseeable future and I don’t qualify for much beyond Medicaid and some politician with a vacation home and the means to take a frickin’ vacation has put my friends out of work in order to deny me the privilege of allowing my family to stay out of debt and the option of blowing me away, because ya know, every life is precious…

Today – I receive a notice from what I consider my previous insurance company, informing me that I really ought to make sure my cancellation request is submitted by December 10th, to ensure I will not be required to fulfill 2 deductibles in 2014.

Wait – –

You’re no longer providing coverage as of January 1st, 2014 – at midnight.   For months you’ve informed me of this.   But if your records do not indicate that I’ve submitted a cancellation prior to December 10th, 2013, I will need to fulfill the deductible requirements for my new insurance plan AND the deductible of the plan that is no longer serviced or even in business come Jan. 1st?

I don’t get it.

True, I’ve had a stroke.

True, I’m somewhat an activist who just waits for the powers that be to say something stupid or illogical or irrational in order to point out to them how ridiculous they are being.

True, I’m sometimes biased and blinded by my own beliefs and perspectives.

Still – I didn’t say “Wow” or “Really” upon reading the latest missive –

I just took a chug of my celebratory beer and mumbled, “WTF?”

😀

P.S.  The Jerusalem artichokes, dutifully purchased out of my grocery budget will be planted Sunday,  I’m thinking – cuz tomorrow, I’m volunteering my time for the benefit of a local organization that benefits our local community – – The ‘chokes are purported to not be too fussy regarding growing environment, should not get me in too much trouble with my local water provider – can double for potatoes or water chestnuts depending on how you consume them (raw or cooked), are a starch that is so miraculous, my diabetic neighbors can eat them without fear and will put up tall stalks of sunflowery looking greenery to hide my recycled tire walls from the offended glare of my affluent neighbor (who actually lives far from me, but owns a business lot one block north of me that doesn’t actually hold a business that benefits the well-being of our community in way I can see – but what do I know? )  He also, supposedly, was considered a hard working, stand up guy by my Dad – but I’m thinking probably not so much anymore.  I hope his sanctimonious ways lands him in heaven – so my Dad can kick his ass….

There – I think this little tirade is complete…