Scott & Sunny

Scott & Sunny

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Punching Bag

The title of this post has dual meaning. It is both what I probably need and what we feel like right now. Two of the latest blows make it so. Be forewarned, this is a rant just like Stephanie's earlier post today.

First blow - our Government.

While filing out the old taxes this past weekend (online, it's easy and my bank makes it cheap), a window pops up and says "About that tax rebate: You will not qualify because you used an invalid SSN for Stephanie". Keep in mind Stephanie and the boys use "ITIN's" from the IRS. The ONLY use an ITIN serves is for TAX purposes. However, in Washington's brilliance, the "tax refund" bill (passed just in early February) is written in a way that say folks using ITIN's are NOT allowed the rebate. Even if filing jointly with a natural-born citizen. It isn't that we just don't receive the rebate which would be calculated including them, the rebate for a single US citizen (me) is ineligible for me to receive.

All because they use numbers only given out by the IRS only. Which are used only for tax purposes. Not to mention, the boys can't procure SSN's until they are working age (Immigration Law). We are going to spend a morning at the local SSN office to file for a number for Stephanie (which will change nothing as 1. she will no be working while Scott is in treatment and 2. it will only be used to put on a tax filing for the benefit of getting said rebate and 3. because due to her being a LEGAL immigrant, she can't receive any public assistance for 10 years). Will see how that goes.

Second blow - Insurance plan.

We've had a great insurance plan from work. So good in this type situation, I've been a huge proponent of encouraging people to do the math and switch if it makes sense. The plan had a sizable deductible ($4,000), but after that was met with hospital, doctor and pharmacy bills, everything was covered 100%. The maximum we'd spend any plan year was the 4k. Pretty clear cut and easy to plan for.

So I receive today our Open Enrollment letter. Same provider. Same plans options. Just one wee little addition this year - "We will be introducing prescriptions co-payments AFTER the deductible is met on the high deductible plan". Great. This makes me see red. The one thing I could count on as not being a worry through the nightmare of having a child with cancer was our insurance, as I knew exactly what we would spend, planned for it, and forgot about it.

Now, with this in place, there is no absolute out of pocket maximum. We have no idea what drugs Scott will need (we know the ones in the protocol). What if we had to pay for all those nasty Luvenox shots last September? So there is no way to plan and forget what expenses will be faced, as there is no maximum. This additional cost could easily be as much as the deductible again. We're always at the pharmacy for something or another.

So we all feel like we want to beat the hell out of a wall or something.

At the same time, we all feel like we've had the hell beat out of us.

In no way will we let Scott go without anything he needs in this fight, that is not the issue. It is just a frustration very similar to what Stephanie wrote about earlier - this mess is ugly regardless of what facet you view. It just doesn't get the coverage or interest that Lance Armstrong on a bike of Susan G. Komen's pink ribbons do. It doesn't because millions of women face breasts cancer. Millions of men face prostate and other cancers. But only a few in a million are kids that are diagnosed with cancer.

And most of the cries to help the few go unheard.

In summary, Dubya (the rebate was his idea, and he hates all immigrants it seems, and especially makes the LEGAL ones suffer while doing nothing to stop the illegals), Congress (for writing such drivel and not funding ped onc research) and UnitedHealthcare (for killing the spirit of high deductible plans - one of the best ideas in healthcare in decades) can just all go straight to bloody hell.

Have a nice day.

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