I have been trying to obtain health insurance for over 6 months now and have not had any success. I was told by Cigna and Bluecross Blue Shield and whoever else I called that I am automatically disqualified from health insurance, because of the medication I take.
I told them that I am receiving the medication Lamictal for free from the government (cost $300/month). They said that that didn't matter. The fact that the medication is so expensive, outweighs the premiums I might be able to pay them monthly. Even if I could pay them a huge premium every month they still wouldn't cover me.
They said that the suicide risk of bipolar disorder is so high, that they won't cover me. I am a liability and won't make them any money. Most bipolars fail at suicide and then the health insurance company would have to pay to patch them back up. They say they can't afford that.
I am lost and don't really know how to go forward with all this.
Can anyone else confirm that Bipolar Disorder folks without health insurance will be denied new health insurance?
I have called NAMI etc (The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) I have talked to my Doctor and Caseworkers, but no one seems to know what to do. I don't qualify for Social Security, because I am high enough functioning. I am self employed and make just enough money to not qualify for AHCCSS or the state health insurance plan. I can't get a 9-5 job, because I need to sleep alot. The current job I have is very flexible, but I am self employed, so there isn't any automatic health insurance coverage.
I am signing up with some state health coverage plan that costs about $50 per year and gives me discounts to a lot of medical services. That is nice, but what if I get in a car accident or something? What if I need to go to the hospital and can't pay huge bills? Then I will have to quit my job, go bankrupt, and possibly my student loans will have to be paid back by my family members who co-signed for them.
The only thing I can think of doing is finding some job that provides health insurance. If I end up getting ill, then the government will have to completely take care of me I guess.
In the end I am just upset that I want to work, contribute and make money, but I am being penalized. I am being prevented from obtaining health insurance, because I am working. That really bothers me.
A bill is just steps from becoming legislation that disallows discrimination on the part of insurance companies covering mental health disorders. This legislation will open up options to everyone with mental health disorders. Many of the loopholes that the insurance companies presently take advantage of will be closed. How soon we can expect to see the changes is unknown. Some insurance companies claim to have parity with regards to mental health coverage but will need to be evaluated to ensure they are compliant with the new legislation. While this does not help now it is a ray of light in the darkness. If you can find a job that provides health benefits that may be your only option to receive health coverage. I wish I had more suggestions but, alas, I have none. I know your pain. My children need psychiatric treatment but we are limited to 60 visits in a LIFE time so you go to the psychiatrist when necessary and limp along the rest of the time. Hopefully the new legislation will offer more to all of us.
Did you have health insurance before you were diagnosed? If so, that was your opportunity. When there is a continuity of coverage, insurance companies have to take you under the HIPAA laws.
For right now, there are some scheduled benefit plans that will give you coverage, but won't cover pre-existing conditions. They are commonly referred to as mini med plans, and are better than absolutely nothing.
Another solution would be to get a job that offers health insurance benefits to it's employees.
I will sit down and try to work out your suggestions more clearly in the future. I ended up calling Nami (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and they gave me at least some practical and quick advice. In the State I reside in there is a sort of medical help plan. I signed up for that. I also ended up doing my income calculations and it turned out that I make so little money that I actually qualify for state assistance. I didn't qualify for it when I was working more regularly. The slow down in the economy really hurt our business.
The reason I didn't continue my coverage when I quit my last job that had health insurance, was because I didn't understand the whole Bipolar thing. I didn't believe it either. It is called a mental condition for a reason. I was not thinking clearly and I just didn't know enough science to comprehend what was going on. So I kind of shot myself in the foot numerous times along the way.
I love how people are constantly talking about privatized vs government sponsored health insurance. I am sorry, but I can barely figure all this stuff out, and I am a well educated smart guy. It is hard when your thinking is screwed up, you life is absolutely upside down and you are constantly sleeping because of your medication. With my impairements and unusual circumstances I find it very difficult to get anything done. I definitely hope there will be more substantial help available in the near future.
Oh by the way. My father had me call some insurance company that was advertising on the Television. They said they would cover me and the fee would be $229 per month. I am going to look into that. I can't afford it, but it's at least nice to know there might be something available.
Does your state offer a high-risk health insurance pool?
I had never heard of this until a couple of days ago. I looked up various health insurance quotes online, then called to ask a few questions. I mentioned that I have sleep apnea and must sleep on a CPAP breathing machine, and I was told that this is an automatic decline with any commercial health insurance carrier. She asked which state I live in, and then gave me an 800 number to find out about my state's high-risk health insurance pool.
The bad part about the high-risk pool is that for my gender and my age, I would pay about $500/month for my premiums.
Sure can't afford that!
I never even got around to mentioning that I had the BPD diagnosis. Guess I'm a double-decline, eh?
It's stressing me out right now because I know that I need to see someone and get back on meds.
My choices are:
* Get a part-time job with benefits at one of the very few places in the area that offers benefits to part-timers, so I can get health insurance through them.
* Get a full-time job again, although it won't be long before they fire me like the others have done.
* Apply for Medicaid, even though I hate the idea of getting a handout from the government.
* Somehow start earning an obscene amount of money working from home so that I can pay the $500/month premiums for the high-risk pool.
* Try for disability, but I keep thinking that if I go that far, it's like kissing goodbye that flicker of the possibility of becoming successful in my craft -- the little flicker that stays with me through the roller coaster of BPD and survives the grandiose ideas that fall by the wayside.
Keep us posted. I'd be interested to know the name of the company that will cover you for $229/month.
I'll look through my notes when I get a chance. The 229/month was on television at one point.
I just finished applying for government assistance yesterday. I used to believe in personal responsibility, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, don't take handouts etc. But I don't see any shame in getting help. I did my service to the USA and to God. I happen to be disabled and I can't keep up in this fast paced world without extra help. At least if I can maintain my current lifestyle, I won't be wasting the governments money in the psych ward. That is like $1000 / day. And I go for 30 day stays at a time.
Yea, it is kind of funny, that those of us who need affordable health insurance the most can't really get it. The companies can't make a profit off of us. You know they aren't hurting. Insurance is the most lucrative business in the world, from what I have known. I kind of get joy out of the fact, knowing that I am kind of falling through the cracks.
I share your pain about getting a 'full time job'. I get tired, distracted and sensitive and that makes it difficult to fully commit somewhere. In the end I am afraid of disappointing the employer and merely getting fired. Not a pretty picture.
I know getting SSI is difficult. You have to be like absolutely unable to work to get that. I can always do janitorial work, but I won't. I currently like my kick back job. But I don't have health insurance. I guess it is giving me money, and I can maintain my health while doing it. I recently calculated that I am not making any real money and the government might give me some assistance. I need it because I still have thousands of dollars of debt from my last depression.
People need to realize, that when I am messed up on bipolar I can't take care of myself very well. I can't think, stay awake, get out of the house, feed myself very well or even think about doing paperwork. I can't work, I go into debt etc. That's why I need government help. If I wasn't so sick, I would work, buy a house, go on vacation and live it up too.
Oh by the way, when it comes to the work at home thing. I just met two young ladies last night at the local Bipolar meeting. They both work 'virtually' they said. They do all their work from home. One is a medical coder. I think they fedex documents to her and she types them up. I will ask them for more info next time. I need a job like that, for the times I just can't leave the house.
I have BiPolar disorder and I am on a lot of medications. My insurance that I had with my job, before I lost it last year, did cover my medicine and therapy. I now work from home and found an alternative to that insurance. I could not afford to pay $300+ per month in insurance premiums. I now only pay less than $40 per month for me and my family for medical and dental. I am able to see my doctors and to get my medicine again. I just want you to know that there are other alternatives... you just have to look for them. I am happy I found mine. When I was off of my meds for a period of time, it was horrible! I never want that to happen again. Now it won't.
Please, can you tell us what sort of insurance you found that is so affordable? I live in Ky., and so far, I have found nothing even approaching that. Everything I try for is at least 500bux/month. My family is now completely uninsured and wewill lose everything if something serious happens to one of us.