Medicare


After I got a letter last week telling me that I couldn’t get my replacement Social Security card with the information I provided, I decided I would go in person. I still couldn’t get it. I gave the extremely condescending guy insurance cards, my EBT card, my photo voter ID, my expired permit, a statement from the doctor’s office I had just left, my library card, and most of my credit cards. None of it could be used. They have to “make sure” I’m really me.  I asked why they couldn’t consult with the ADPH to get proof of my ID from them, since they issue birth certificates. He told me they don’t issue them. Bullshit. He then said that that would basically be completing an errand for me.  They wanted me to go back to a doctor and get them a certified copy of my medical record because “THAT would be easiest.” I asked how they expected me to pay for it. They shrugged. I asked why they thought buying my medical record so I could prove who I am to get a free card so I could then turn around and prove who I am to get a license.1  I tried to explain why paying $30 to get the record was not a reasonable idea for someone who only receives around $700 a month. I asked him how much he made, but he said I shouldn’t try to make this a personal issue. I don’t think he understood that $30 dollars2 is around 5% of my monthly budget. Expecting me to spend 5% of my monthly budget to get a document so that I can get another document so I can get an ID to prove who I am is personal!  I asked to talk to his boss. She was worse. She “explained” that they needed more biographical information—which only includes things that don’t change—including, in their words, name, date of birth, parent names, age, hair color, eye color, and sex; but it doesn’t include address because that can change. Apparently, they are unaware of name changes, adoption or foster care, birthdays, hair dye or aging, contacts or health condition, and being transgender.3 I understand why they restrict what they can take, but they don’t seem to understand that they’re making a vital piece of identification inaccessible for lower income people. They don’t understand that expecting someone who can’t drive and can’t work to provide information from the DMV or from their employer is laughable. Things that may be easy for one person to provide are difficult for people who lack money and access.  Life isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s harder when you have more obstacles preventing you from accessing even the most simple of things.  Photo credit: akahawkeyefan via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA The guy then suggested I go get a new ID from the DMV. Apparently, he didn’t understand that having a social security card is a basic requirement for the DMV. ↩It’s the maximum that UAB will charge for records. If I was only on Medicaid, they couldn’t even do that. ↩When I pointed out a person can change their sex, she said that I was misunderstanding her words. ↩

Who Am I?


2
After getting the notice that UAB was closing their OB/GYN office in Huntsville, I sent a request for a first available appointment for an annual exam. You know, the exam that I was I could schedule in October…when they cancelled my birth control consultation without informing me and told me that I could either pay them $90 that I didn’t have if I wanted to get my birth control that day or schedule an appointment for an annual in October and get it then. Obviously, I should have fucked up my finances even more and paid for the $90 appointment because I got this response to my request: Unfortunately we are no longer scheduling annuals due to the closure of our office next month. Your last one was 10/14/15 so you can have one at any time. I show you have Human insurance and MC. You should contact Human for a list of preferred providers. Once you find a new Dr you will need to sign a release form for your records. Feel free to call if you have any questions Needless to say, I was not amused. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I was pretty pissed off, so I fired off this response: I understand your office is closing, but this appointment is important and time-sensitive. I went off the Depo, then was rudely told my birth control consultation appointment was cancelled when I arrived for said appointment, and was told that day that I would need to wait until my annual exam at your office to get the birth control prescription. Now you’re refusing to schedule the exam? This birth control prescription is to keep my anemia in check and prevent me from having to undergo infusions. I’ve already had some bleeding because it has been so long since I had my last Depo. And I’ve already started having early signs of the anemia popping up. If I am even able to find a local doctor that takes the Humana & the Medicaid, it will probably be 2 months for me to get in, so I would appreciate you making an exception in this case…especially since part of this predicament is on you guys in the first place. Yes, it’s manipulative. Yes, it’s abrasive. Yes, all of that was necessary. The reality of their office closing on short notice is that it’s putting lives in danger. I know that they still have pregnant patients that they need to see, but they also have cases like mine where birth control is a life-saving medication and they have people who may have diagnoses of cancer delayed by months because they had to transfer their care to another doctor. I am so sick of doctors and their employees acting like routine appointments are unimportant. They may not seem to be important to some patients, but they are actually very important for others.1 And it will take a while to find a doctor who takes my insurances. It always does. Right now, I can’t even get the physician finder on Humana’s website to work. Once it starts to work, I can’t even guarantee that who they list will even taken the insurance.2 What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to let my health get worse? Am I supposed to just pretend like all of this bullshit, douchenuggetry, and dumbfuckery is acceptable? Fuck that. This is my life that they are messing with and they don’t have a right to jeopardize it. I shouldn’t have to sit here and wonder if I’m actually going to get medicine that I need in time to avoid infusions. I shouldn’t have to worry that lately I’ve been cold on hot days and that I’ve been paler than usual. But this is what I have to worry about when medical offices and insurance companies decide to make arbitrary decisions that endanger my life. I know that neither the office nor the insurance company are intending to harm patients by making these decisions, but that is what is happening/can happen when they cut off proper healthcare. Actually, they’re very important for all of them. ↩Humana has a tendency to list people who don’t accept their plans and not list ones who do. ↩

I Need That Appointment