Previously Existing Condition: Poverty

We did it!  We've finally gotten our heads above water, in the financial tide.  We're stable enough to be denied medical coverage for my youngest kids, through the state health program.  It's a great feeling, for sure, knowing that we have finally surpassed the income requirement to qualify for government assistance programs.

In the late eighties, I stood in line for the state's semiannual grocery giveaways.  It was like Christmas peering into those brown paper bags, not knowing what you would receive.  Peanut butter, oatmeal, dried beans, and "Yes!  We got the government cheese!".  In the early nineties, I was standing in line once a month at the food stamp window, back when food stamps looked like Monopoly money.  I was also on the program when they made the big switch to the plastic re-loadable food assistance debit card.  I kicked that in the late nineties, and never went back.  Even during times, when I'm sure we would've qualified, we decided to live the struggle.  We ate a lot of hot dogs, eggs, and Ramen noodles that year.  The only assistance I relied on from then until now has been health care.  From Medicaid to an affordable state run insurance program, underwritten by Blue Cross.  I paid a yearly premium, and co-pays for doctors and prescriptions. 

Last year, just prior to filling out our re-enrollment application, Hubsy got a big fat raise.  Unfortunately, just after the denial letter arrived, the management company was sold, and in order to keep his job, he had to take a big fat pay cut. Now, maybe we re-qualify ... maybe we won't.  But in the meantime, I have two kids with ongoing medical conditions, that require regular appointments with specialists, and name brand medications on a daily basis.  I can't wait for my new application to be processed, and I can't wait for Hubsy's insurance to have their yearly "open enrollment". 

In my hunt for the appropriate private insurance program, I was amazed at all the choices, but just as amazed at the prices!  I could either get a low monthly premium, but with a high deductible, or the opposite.  Generic medications are covered for a low co-pay, but no body wants to cover name brands at all.  I was in a pickle.  Not just any pickle, but the ultimate Vlassic Sweet Gherkin... it's the Egg McMuffin of pickles.  It's a catch twenty two.  A trap.  We don't qualify for help, but we can't afford the regular stuff.  Is this that new middle class?

Luckily, at nearly the last minute, we discover that the loss of coverage from the state health program, qualifies us for immediate enrollment on Hubsy's insurance.  There will be no lapse, and my girls can still see their regular doctors, and take their regular medications (just at a slightly higher cost).  Of course, now, they're going to be taking the highest amount of money from the paycheck, and I'm afraid it's going to dunk us back down under the water.  But I am a water sign, after all.  I think I'll just tread like never before, and do my best to stay clear of the dangers like, shipwrecks, sharks, and government assistance programs.

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