One month of my dearest husbeast’s diabetes meds is $609.14. His insurance will pay for it entirely once we’ve met our $4,000 deductible but what about until then? We have a flex spending account which is entirely spent now,mostly on meds, a mere three months into the year. This was a med his insurance didn’t cover at all until recently (it’s Trulicity). His doctor’s office supplied the injection pens via “samples” until it would. I am confident they will help if we can’t afford them next month (and until that deductible is met). I also still have Taxmas money I stashed in savings just in case. What about people who don’t have that assurance and resources? Our medical expenses are nothing compared to some people struggling with this backwards bananas healthcare crisis. I’m fucking worried, America. We’re not ok. This isn’t ok. None of it.
Also, this week I needed new glasses and our insurance covers nothing eye related. . Not even the eye exam. Hello, insurance companies? My eyes are a part of my body and they need glasses to pretty much do every damn thing necessary to get through the day. $729 for glasses. Lucky me it was my birthday earlier this month and my mom paid for part of the glasses. [sidenote: I could write another 600 words on how extraordinary it was that my mom gave me money for anything. This has never happened before to my recollection. Like…nearly homeless, no money for groceries,electricity shut off … those times when I could have used some mom-money? Nope. She must really like the idea of me being able to see clearly. I just don’t know]
Taking some deep breaths and letting Woody be my inner voice this morning.
I have my first dentist appointment this morning. I’m so nervous. I’m also really, really hungry. I can’t even eat noodles right now. NOODLES, fer fecks sake.
I’m not scared of the dentistry part of this. I’m scared of what it’s going to cost. Of course, if it costs too much, I won’t even be able to get more than the basic of the most basic work done. My new married woman insurance has dental but only $1,000/year. I’m pretty sure it’ll be about 10x that.
My husband is taking the youngest with him to his doctor’s appointment while I’m at the dentist. Hubby & I are kinda falling apart. His doctor’s office called last week to let him know that his insurance won’t cover his diabetes meds anymore. The alternative meds sent him to the ER, so this is the only med he can take. Out of pocket cost will be $750 for a 3 month supply. Yay,insurance! I’m so glad we have it.
Anyway, he is more worried about my dentist appointment this morning because he won’t be there. He’s pretty sure I’m going to be a traumatized, emotional mess but mostly, I think he’s afraid that the dentist will say something judgmental and assholish that will make me kick him. Then, not only will we have to come up with money to fix my mouth (and a new dentist who will treat me), we’ll need bail money,too.
I have heard that this dentist is very compassionate. I hope so, for his shins’ sake.
Anne-Marie from Do Not Faint asked if I would publish her letter to University of Connecticut regarding their new policy regarding insurance coverage of grad students with dependents. I am more than happy to do so. She also wrote her own blog post describing her family circumstances and other thoughts on the new policy.
You can read that whole post here.
I wrote this letter to the president of the university today, Susan Herbst, just to give my rage some outlet, and I’m sharing it, here, so that others know that the University of Connecticut discriminates against students with spouses, partners and children by asking them to pay an exponential greater percentage of the cost of a health care plan. I’m not totally sure I chose the right numbers for the math, but I’m very close. If I go over it again, I’ll just cry.
Dear Dr. Herbst,
Soon, University of Connecticut Graduate Assistants will be forced into a change in health care benefits. After examining the costs and benefits, I have realized that our family, should we choose a plan that includes dependents, will be paying a disproportionate amount of a graduate assistant’s income in order to have health insurance compared to a graduate assistant without dependents. As it stands, our family of three qualifies for Husky, SNAP and WIC, because my husband makes so little income. This change in insurance adds insult to injury by increasing our health care costs exponentially simply because we are married and have a nine-month-old child. The choice we face is to change our care providers to those within the small network allowed by Husky or to pay the difference in cost UConn is not willing to absorb.
A single graduate assistant would be paying only $200 for an entire year of health care worth, according to the brochure from human resources, $3,988. That’s about 5% of the cost of the annual plan.
A family of three must pay $1,622 for a plan worth $8,368. That is about 45$ of the cost of the annual plan. We must pay an additional $250 deductible for seeing an off-campus doctor and, unless UConn has hired a pediatrician recently, anyone with 2+ dependents would need to do that. Because the therapist and psychiatrist I depend on for mental health care are not inside the new Cigna network, we will have to pay an additional $500 deductible for out-of-network coverage or change providers, a transition that is not at all good for my mental health. By the way, we already paid Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield a $500 deductible for the privilege of seeing out-of-network care providers this year.
Tell me: Is the assumption that a family of three must have two incomes? If so, how do you justify making such an assumption in a state and country where childcare costs so much and family leave is so rare?
I can only conclude that the University of Connecticut is knowingly practicing discrimination against its graduate students with dependents. Why should a marriage or parenthood force a student to live in poverty? I am disgusted by this practice. We are going to be living under the poverty line and incurring extra expenses simply because your university does not treat its graduate assistants with the same respect other employees receive. In addition to paying them salaries that hardly qualify as a living wage, your university asks for a significant amount of that money back in exchange for providing average-quality health care coverage. I hope that this practice changes in the future. For now, all I can do is write this letter and continue to beg the state of Connecticut for help, until my husband can finish his degree and obtain a position that pays a living wage.