Health Insurance Is Not A Guarantee Of No Stress

I am epileptic. I have given birth twice. I am a normal person.

Yet, one of the things that causes me the most stress in this life is my health insurance.

Unfortunately, I have a chronic condition. It’s not an option. I’m lucky enough that I can afford insurance. I’m lucky enough to be able to control my condition. I’m lucky enough to have a simple enough solution to handle it.

Dealing with insurance, however, makes the condition feel worse than it is. There are constant problems with meeting all the requirements to get the medicine I need to control the condition. The insurance doesn’t talk to the pharmacy, the pharmacy doesn’t talk to the doctor, the doctor can’t talk to the insurance. It’s like I need to conference call all of them constantly to make everything function smoothly.

In the past 4 months, I have had to deal with it all at least 3 times. For a month, I was constantly calling the insurance company, the pharmacy, and my doctor to get all the paperwork in order so I could continue to get the medication that I’ve been on for 13 years.

Why is it so hard? Why can’t something that should be so basic be easier? I’ve definitely read that it’s easier in other countries. I do realize that the insurance industry is a for-profit business and this is a way to make money. Why is that the case though? Shouldn’t our healthcare be a necessity, not a luxury? Shouldn’t we be able to get what we need without stress? Isn’t getting sick stressful enough?

I hope I get to see things get easier in the insurance world in my lifetime. I don’t know how this country can untangle the mess that it is. I don’t even know if the people in charge want to.

All I know is that it’s frustrating that in addition to whatever our bodies and minds are going through on a regular basis, we have to add a good dose of stress to it.

The Next Step

Last week, I wrote about mental health and yesterday, I mentioned how it’s important to be able to cope with the feelings that you might be having.

I also wanted to dedicate an article to what the next step is.

If you don’t feel like you figured out ways to cope and actually feel better, it might be time to seek help. There is nothing wrong with needing professional help. As I mentioned before, if you are willing to see a doctor for your body, why would you feel bad about seeing a doctor for your mind? It is a part of who we are and it also needs to be taken care of.

So what’s the next step?

When I finally admitted that I needed help, I literally just got on the phone with my insurance company. A lot of insurance companies have a phone number for mental health on the back of their card. And when I say I got on the phone with the company, I mean that my friend and I got on the phone because I still needed the support. It was a hard decision to make. It made me feel like I failed at something because I wasn’t able to deal with my issues by myself.

Sometimes, you need someone to help you stand yourself up again. And it’s okay.

So I called the insurance company’s mental health line and asked them who they covered in my area. They literally started at A and gave me 5 names and numbers. I called the first number on the list and made an appointment.

It’s important that you like your therapist and feel like they can help you. I needed someone to listen and to help me navigate my murky feelings. I needed someone who could help me take steps to become me again.

I was lucky that the first name that I called was the first person I saw was the therapist I ended up seeing for the next 4 years. Even when I felt better and more like myself after a year or two, I kept on seeing her every so often just as a tune-up. I saw her as I went through a few other phases in my life and she helped me get through them.

The only reason I stopped was because I moved away and physical distance made it difficult. I haven’t found another therapist because I haven’t felt the urgency to see one yet. After having 2 kids though and not quite feeling like myself for a while, I am thinking about finding one near me.

I want to be the best version of me I can be and be able to give that to my family. So I’ll do what I can to find that person again.

Cheating Through Life

Recently, I have been experiencing people trying to take advantage of me. And the funny part is I see it happening almost like an out of body experience point of view and I think it’s just a little sad. If I were to put in a pie graph, 20% of people I have encountered are nice and 80% are out to “get someone”, cheat them to get ahead.

I recently got in an accident. Luckily, I was okay. Little setup: The accident happened near south central LA. As I was calling my insurance trying to figure things out, 2 tow truck owners came to the scene and started asking questions. I had to ask them to hold back so I could talk to my insurance. Then, another tow truck showed up a few minutes later, parked behind the other two, and then took off. I resolved everything with my insurance company and they were sending a tow truck. I told the tow truck guys, “sorry but the insurance can’t approve you over the phone since they have a system”. The guys were super nice and said, “hey no problem, just here to help. we’ll kick back in case things take long with your insurance”.

The insurance was suppose to take 45 minutes or less but they were taking a lot longer, over an hour. I called them back to get a status and apparently, they were backlogged. A little notification to the waiting client would have been nice. So I waited. Then, a tow truck showed up saying “Mercury? Mercury?” (the name of my insurance). Naturally I said “YES!”. He proceeded to be nice, very nice actually, introduced himself, and said “Coo man, let me set you up.” He proceeded to attach the car to the tow truck. I found it a little weird that he didn’t ask for my license or Mercury card. But I figured that was being handled by the insurance company somehow and they were just trying to get me on the way. I had been waiting over an hour and was just happy someone from the company finally showed up.

He hooked up the car to the tow truck and when I got in to the tow truck, I asked him if we were going to Fix Auto Body Shop which is where my insurance told me we were going. He said “Oh nah man, they changed it to one local to here. Yeah, yeah it’s over here”. A red flag went up.  Unfortunately, we were already on the way. I didn’t want to create a scene. Obviously, this was a semi-kidnap scene.

He proceeded to be a great friend all about putting me at ease.

Now we get to the body shop “Impact Body Shop”. The owner makes me wait a few minutes. Then, he asks me what happened. Weird, I thought the insurance would tell him that. The he asks “what insurance do you have”. SHIT, 2nd Red Flag. It was then that I realized the tow truck guy was the same as the one that pulled up second on the scene. He talked to the other gentlemen there to ask what my insurance was… DUH!

So I was able to stall him and get back to Mercury and get another tow truck which got me to the right body shop. After 5 hours.

So, why do people lie? Cheat? Their fellow human beings? Is this survival of the fittest?

How can we become so low as a society to come to this?

Bear with me, I am not ranting about anyone specific in LA. I have had the SAME experience of people trying to cheat me in London and back at home in India.

Over the past month, the balance of people being nice vs. being nice to get me has been really skewed.

I can only thank my parents for raising me in a way to stay strong and hold my ground. I get the true value of their teachings and an even more heightened respect for them. I often said, “oh dad/mom don’t worry”. Now, I get why they worried. I get what I need to do when I bring a kid into this world. I get it. But I can’t help but think how sad the whole thing is. Human nature, survival of the fittest.. it makes you grow some balls.