Monday, January 31, 2011

Possible Good News on Medicaid

A little background, first. Ever since the Grapefruit days, I've been trying to navigate my way through all the ins and outs of getting medical assistance.

The surgery to repair a simple testicular hydrocele--the "Grapefruit" (it still amuses me to call it that, but it's never been as bad as it was before I resorted to the do-it-yourself fix)--would be several thousand bucks. Something like $1500 to the doctor doing the surgery (the same guy who was going to remove my kidney a few weeks ago), a few more to the hospital, some more to the anesthesiologist, and that's all for an outpatient procedure. I'd be home the same day. Since money was an issue, the Urologist sent me to a financial counselor in-house, who pointed me to Medicaid.

I quickly found that I wasn't qualified--too young, among other things.

Then came the torn aorta, a week in the hospital, and close to $53,000 in medical bills, mostly handled by the hospital's Uncompensated Care charity system. The hospital's counselors pointed to Medicaid again, and I tried to explain that I wasn't qualified.

Then it was back to the Urologist, who was concerned about the growth on my kidney that had been found while my aorta was being inspected. He said it had to come out, and again ushered me to the financial counselor, who ran the phones, called the local Medicaid people, and was told that all I needed to do was apply online. Surgery date was set, everything was put in motion, and I went home to work on the application.

Took maybe 2 weeks for them to reply: I wasn't qualified. They didn't say why.

I drove to the local office, and only then--after all this digging--did I learn that I'd have to go through Social Security and apply for Disability. Different social worker at the hospital, more paperwork and phone calls, and now I'm looking at three different pieces of paper from the Medicaid people looking for more information about my condition and proof of citizenship.

I'm hoping their sudden attention's a good thing.

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