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The Ripple Effect

  • Posted on December 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The Affordable Care Act. When the law was passed, my family was safe and secure in a state-run program that offered families a way to ease off of medical assistance by providing an opportunity to purchase subsidized insurance when they no longer qualified for fully-funded insurance. I’m not entirely sure how this program really worked, because this month is the first time I made enough to be eligible for the transition and the Affordable Care Act killed the program. Now, my choice is Obamacare or bust.

When President Obama first started pushing this legislation, I wasn’t exactly supportive. On the one hand, we really do have a problem in this country, so there was a part of me that really wanted it to work. On the other hand, this legislation doesn’t do anything to fix the problem, because, as the system stands, healthcare cannot be “affordable” for providers and insurers and the people. Somebody has to lose out on that deal. Seeing as the major supporters of the legislation included providers and insurers, I suspected that the people would be the losers, no matter what the President and his supporters claimed.

When initial estimates for Wisconsin residents were released, all the evidence pointed to the people being the big losers. Recently debated figures indicate a rate increase of 10-185% due to the legislation that makes health insurance “affordable.” Since I cannot afford health insurance independently, my only hope of providing my husband and me with adequate coverage is to hope and pray for adequate subsidies (my children are still covered through Wisconsin’s disability-related insurance program). The only way to access those subsidies is to go through the program run by the federal government.

This is all the more complicated by the very unsuccessful roll-out of the new Healthcare.gov website. When I discovered that I would be forced to use President Obama’s hallmark legislation to provide my husband and me with insurance, I was also taking a class about the crossroads of technology and public administration. Let’s just say that the disaster that is Healthcare.gov seems so much worse when you’re actually informed and leave it at that. Okay, I’ll throw this in too: After discovering how important online security really is, I really have no interest in loading up confidential financial information on a site that hasn’t passed its security tests because those tests were deemed too time-consuming under such a tight deadline.

The problem is that I don’t have any good choices. I can either go without insurance, which means my husband will go without prescription medication, or I can let the federal government take even greater control over my life. Either I pay a penalty for having no insurance or I pay more than I can afford for insurance that I cannot afford to use effectively. The only other option is to give up the freedom of self-employment in favor of a job that will provide insurance I can actually afford, if there are any employers who can still afford to provide insurance to their workers after this whole mess shakes out.

Is Flexibility Enough?

  • Posted on June 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Not so long ago, Alex got new glasses.  Then, they broke and I was too busy to get them fixed until right before his appointment.  The fix lasted long enough for the eye appointment, and Alex seemed disappointed and upset when they broke again.

The thing of it is, the glasses proved two things.  First, the glasses work, Alex can see better, and he will wear them, though we’re only up to 30 – 50% of the time, depending on the day.  Second, they help with Alex’s wandering eye issue—and the exam today proved that Alex’s worst eye isn’t “shut off” the way the doctor feared it might be.  He still receives visual stimuli from both eyes.

So, the glasses need to be replaced, which the insurance company will pay for.  But Alex needs something a bit less breakable for it to work.  Ideally, something less scratchable, too, but the lady at the optical center was convinced that nothing would really help, considering Alex actually chewed on the lens.  (She’s got a point.)  But still, he needs a frame (the part that broke) that’s a bit more durable.  Alex simply is not gentle with things.

Alex’s eye doctor, who spends far more time with him than the people at the optical center, had a suggestion.  Miraflex produces soft frames they describe as “Flexible and Safe.”  These frames are specifically marketed for babies, young children, and children with special needs.  They also have “Terry Flex” frames that are hard frames without metal hinges, but are also breakable.  We’re looking into the soft frames to start Alex off on and see if they help.  Of course, it’s possible he’ll just chew the frame to bits.  But we’ve got to try.

Unfortunately, the insurance company won’t pay for the unbreakable frames.  We’ll get the replacement pair and hope they last long enough for us to pay out of pocket for the unbreakable frames.  Keeping our fingers crossed!