Every time I think I have gotten all the pieces sorted out regarding my treatment for depression, a new wrinkle appears.
Learning to live with depression and understanding my relationship with it has been eye-opening. Going from concealing it, not facing it, never even saying the word to now acknowledging it has been a roller coaster ride. And on top of that, I am dealing with the financial consequences of my depression.
Let’s forget about the coulda, woulda, shoulda of my retirement.
I will be OK. My future is secure. And my ability to earn is still intact. But the emotional drain of having to deal with insurance companies, hospitals, emergency rooms and other healthcare professionals has been overwhelming.
Having retired early, thanks to a suggestion by my depression, I sought insurance from an Obama Care plan. I could have accepted Cobra for up to 12 months, but the cost for family coverage was over $1,100 per month. Of course, now that seems cheap, compared to the cost of my four days in 5 North. And then there were the emergency room costs. I have paid almost all of these now, with a payment plan for the remainder.
And I thought I was done. It just seems that someone somewhere keeps wanting me to pay more.
I have never minded paying for the services I received. And even when money was tight over the years, I covered all the bases and still had a few dollars for a pizza night or something special for and with the kids. And when the money is good, my giving increases as well.
Now I am feeling that I must justify my ability to provide for my family, even though the track record speaks for itself.
Back to my frustration, it is with those who treat mental health issues, and then expect someone like me to react to correspondence that same way a person not diagnosed with major depressive disorder would react. I have depression for crying out loud. Getting out of bed, at times, was the culmination of my day’s efforts. And then to deal with a letter about paying for services rendered?
I know that is what I am supposed to do, open the letter, and respond.
I could send in the payment, call, and work out a payment plan, discuss other options, all from the comfort of my home. But my depression sees the envelope and DREAD fills my thoughts. Unhelpful Thinking begins within seconds and has me circling the drain, all options are obscured. I cannot bring myself to open it.
And this is happening even though I have the resources to pay the bill.
17 months after my hospitalization for MDD, I have finally gotten all the bills paid. Or a payment plan set to finish up. And I am back on a robust Health Insurance plan through my day job employer. This has made a huge impact on me, knowing for instance that a 30-day prescription will be $3. And doctor visits have a $20 co-pay and up to 8 therapist visits are at no cost, then I will have the same small co-pay.
But suddenly my work insurance thinks I still have Obama care insurance. This, by the way, did not cover anything I tried to use it for.
And I have just received a bill for my medication management visit. This was supposed to be paid by my new insurance. And I called them to find out what was going on (a step forward for me). They updated their records and were going to cover this visit. But in the meantime, I received the bill from the doctor’s office for the entire $385 for the visit. When will this be fixed?
My overall condition with depression is immeasurably better than it was 17 months ago.
But the lingering effects of having to deal with the paperwork are draining. It has become, if it wasn’t already, a trigger. And taking the time to wait on the phone for up to 30+ minutes to speak to someone about these issues is stressful. Necessary, but incredibly stressful.