Wednesday, October 5, 2016

INSURANCE RANT. Canada does not have it made, despite what y'all may think.

I need to rant.

About insurance. It's long, and boring.

Years ago I looked into acquiring medical insurance for myself after leaving a full-time job with benefits for a small-time job without them. I was naive in thinking it would be easy. How dumb could I possibly be? Very dumb apparently. For the most part, they all told me to go fuck myself without using those exact words.

Oh, you have a pre-existing chronic disease that costs hundreds every month? No, sorry, we don't help people like you. Or if I did get a quote, the monthly premiums were outrageous and didn't even cover a tiny fraction of my needs. So I walked away, head down and completely broken. I spent the next year paying for my medical costs out of pocket before finally leaving that awesome job for one with benefits. I get it, I do, from an insurance company's perspective. They wouldn't make any money off me. Perhaps my anger needs to be less directed at the insurance company and more at the government for not being able to provide the basics of keeping those of us with expensive medical conditions alive. OR.. directed at the super high costs of test strips and insulin.

Enter now... I am self-employed and under my husbands work benefits. The coverage isn't perfect but it's better than no coverage at all. I never suspected he would be at that job forever so there's always been this idea up in the air that we would have to figure things out one day. It was him that urged me to quit and persue my own business. Without him and his benefits, this would NEVER be an option because of the diabetes. There has been talk recently about what would happen if he wanted to start his own company one day too, like me. How would we keep me alive?

I am a member of a couple professional associations for my business which means I get discounts on group benefit plans. Two days ago I called to get a quote and found myself right back to where I was about 8 years ago. Nearly crying on the phone and feeling like a fucking failure in life.

I didn't ask for this fucking disease. Nobody asks for diseases. I certainly didn't as for one that would cost me $400-$500 a month if it were out-of-pocket.

I will not hide anything here, the company quoted me over $250/month in premiums for the two of us. And what does that get me? It gets me 85% up to $1200/year in prescription drugs. That almost covers my insulin needs but not quite. It gets me 85% up to $1000/year in test strips and needles. I use about $350/month. Math isn't that hard. That's $4200/year in strips and needles. So through the benefit program, they basically cover DIDDLY SQUAT.

Then I looked into the Trillium Drug Benefit Program here in Ontario. It's for low-income households. However, they determine your deductible based on your previous years FAMILY household income. Well, let's not beat around the bush, Ryan and I brought in a decent amount. Yet even earning a lot of money does not mean we are swimming in it. We are making do but aren't exactly putting a lot away. Our deductible will be around $4000. Again, the math isn't that hard. It's barely worth it. Might as well just move into a tiny apartment, sell everything we own, never take another holiday and spend every spare dollar on MY FUCKING MEDICAL NEEDS.

Canada sucks fucking dirty dicks when it comes to benefits. The government health care supports ZERO needs for prescriptions and the like.

So my options are as such:
1. Earn enough to cough up hundreds of dollars each month for test strips and insulin
2. Ryan has to stay at his job and not persue his dreams so we can keep benefits
3. I give up on my own business and go back and work for "the man" just so I can get benefits and he can then start his own business
4. just roll over and die

I am successful in my business and it's only been a year but not without huge amounts of stress. I'm still in the learning curve and there is a lot to go yet before I can start bringing in larger amounts of money. I still don't know if this is the right thing to do. Maybe it would be for someone without the most expensive* chronic disease in existence. *overexaggerating-butnotreally*

I want Ryan to follow his dreams but what do we do when the time comes? One of us always has to be taking it up the ass from a company to keep me alive? We can't both be successful entrepreneurs? Well that's just not fucking fair.

Or perhaps we make absolute shit dollars and get a Trillium Drug Program deductible that is actually AFFORDABLE. We don't make enough right now to pay out-of-pocket for my medical needs.

In the end, do you want to know how this all makes me feel?

LIKE A FUCKING ASSHOLE. I want him to be passionate and successful. I want us both to be entrepreneurs because we are smart, determined and can, dammit. I didn't bloody well choose this medical burden. And just because we are married and in a partnership, does not make it any easier to accept that:

MY DISEASE NEGATIVELY EFFECTS HIS LIFE CHOICES.

It's seriously time for me to start hooking myself on the corner and sucking dicks for insulin. I wouldn't be against that. *insert funny "will suck dicks for insulin" meme*

4 comments:

  1. Yup. We went through the same thing when my paper closed and our group benefits eventually expired. I collected info from all the major health insurance providers, poured through their online documentation and made a lot of enquiries by phone and email. Of course none of them specifically address the needs of diabetics in their policies so it's a bit of a crap shoot where they place things like test strips, infusion sets, cartridges, etc. Ironically, Manulife boasts of being the first Canadian insurer to underwrite life insurance policies for diabetics; but they don't exactly do much to ensure diabetics can access the medical supplies they need so they don't die. Six months in and we've already topped out the first year $ limit for medical supplies, so now we're hanging on to our receipts and hoping Katie's student health plan that is part of her student fees will pick up the slack when it kicks in in a few weeks. I don't understand why there is this huge discrepancy in the quality of coverage from a group plan and a private individual plan because don't all those individual plans eventually add up to one giant plan in which some people will access it a lot, while others not so much and the insurers can still make out like bandits?

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  2. If you are without benefits again look into the Monitoring for Health Program which will cover 75% ($820) a year for strips. The insulin companies also have good compassionate programs so you may be able to get insulin from them.

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  3. I fing understand where you are coming from - and I'm hoping the project I'm working on picks your blog to put on their page ... I'm trying to retire ... but due to similar situation that you have where DH has the insurance plan - and I'm a freelancer with naught - he's going well past into 40 years in same company mainly due to moi ... and my diabetes expenses. Luckily, he loves his jobs, but dreams of retirement are pushed aside because looking into private insurance / Trillium ... like you ... it's not worth it. So maybe some of us Canadian diabetics should buy up a plot of land that's suitable for all our needs (us close to water for sailing, mountains for you guys to cycle, ohhh BC???) ... and live in a commune!!! It's like WTF, we are want to live with diabetes to the fullest, but to the point that it breaks us financially? Urrrhhh ... yeah ... Americans ... what you think is a great healthcare system ... uhmmm ... nope.

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  4. Thank you for putting into words my feelings about the expenses and insurance. We're going through the same exercise. Your words are much more accurate than my fist pounding the table!

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