Friday, December 18, 2015

My experiences with Obamacare and Universal Health Care

One of the stupider things I've done in my life was failing to get Canadian citizenship when I was young. For a couple of years, I had landed immigrant status through my family, who moved to Canada when I was seventeen. I went to college in the US and decided to stay there because I really liked Emma and Minneapolis. During my time in Canada, I had some experience with its health care system, which always consisted of going to the nearest provider, getting what I needed, and walking out in a minute or two.

Though I chose to stay in the US, I kept hearing stories from my family about their health care. All of which were good.

Now, I could tell you about the hell we went through when Emma broke both of her arms, but that was before Obamacare, so let me leap forward to this October. I had a bad bicycle accident and went to the emergency room, where I was told I wasn't covered.

Here's how coverage for low-income folks works locally: You qualify for coverage through Hennepin County, which gives you a choice of insurance providers, if I remember correctly—we're with Medica. The insurance companies have deals with different medical groups—because we're with Medica, we go to Allina clinics. Which meant that on that Sunday, I had to go to the nearest Allina clinic that was open rather than to the nearest clinic. Which meant I found out I wasn't covered after taking an hour-long bus ride with an arm that might've been broken. (Yes, I could've gotten friends to give me a ride, but I am damned independent by nature, and there was nothing wrong with my legs, so I didn't want to bother anyone on a Sunday morning.)

Now, the Minnesota system is not heartless because few humans are. We figured out that Hennepin County was slow to get the paperwork done for October because they're understaffed, but I was supposed to be covered, so the paperwork could be straightened out later. I got to see a doctor and went home.

And started getting billed.

So I contacted Allina, explained that Hennepin said I was covered, and forgot about it for a few weeks.

And got more bills. So today I spent several hours, half on hold and half talking to Allina, Medica, and Hennepin county. The upshot is Hennepin County will send me paperwork saying I really was covered, which I will then send to Medica, who will then tell Allina it's all okay.

If everything goes right.

I'll add that everyone I spoke to was very nice and sympathetic—it's not their fault they're in a system designed for profit rather than people.

But, capitalists, do not tell me anything about socialist bureaucracies today, okay?

ETA:


Related :Thank you, bicycle helmet!