I am among the 17 million Americans who check the self employed box on their tax returns. I am also among the 44 million Americans who have no health insurance. In October 2013, I began the embarrassing yet necessary task of aquiring medicaid. This process has been a complete nightmare and as of today, I am still uninsured.
October 31, 2013 - I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
November 2013 - Just a couple days after my diagnosis, a representative from Cancer Services of Onondaga County, came to my house with a packet of information. Lisa helped me fill out the necessary paperwork so that their organization could cover my initial tests and biopsy. She then told me that I would need to go down to our local Social Services center and apply for medicaid.
December 2013 - As directed, and less than 30 days after meeting with Lisa, I went to the Onondaga County Social Services department and waited with my application, for over 4 hours, until eventually called in to see a social worker. She reviewed my paperwork and then proceeded to set up my follow up appointments, including a jobs assessment program. I let her know that on December 9th I would be having a double mastectomy and may not be able to come in and sit through a jobs assessment program. She rudely looked at me to say - and I quote "There is no reason that people with breast cancer can't work!" Although I tried to explain that I was only needing to recover from surgery, she told me that if she didn't make the appointment then I would not qualify for benefits. She made the appointment for 3 days after my surgery.
Right or wrong, I snapped a few photos during my visit.
Again, unable to make these appointments with drain tubes hanging out of both sides of my body, amongst other medical recovery issues from the surgery, my application was denied. As I called to explain, I was told that there is nothing that can be done. And let's not forget that when calling the Social Services department, expect to be on hold for a minimum of 30 minutes, before actually reaching someone... and this is after pushing several different extensions to try and reach a human voice.
I called back...again, waiting on hold for another 20 minutes. When reaching a representative, I asked her if she could take my number down or if I could get her direct extension in case we get disconnected and she said that policy does not allow her to do that. She stated: "let's talk fast." Before the call ended, she directed me to set up my account online and pick a health insurance plan.