For quite some time, I’ve been anxious all the time but didn’t think anything about it as just about everyone I know is anxious right now (thanks a bunch SAG), but over the past few days I’ve started to have panic attacks.
Panic attacks, in case you’ve never had one, are like a fight-or-flight reaction gone horribly wrong. It’s that thready adrenaline rush you get when you almost have a car accident or the plane drops 1,000 feet without warning crossed with the screaming heebie jeebies of a horror movie. Times 10. For some reason, mine seemed to be much worse at night, to the point that I was averaging about three hours of sleep.
So yesterday, I went to see the doctor and he prescribed some medication (which I won’t name because if I do I’ll get several hundred spam trackbacks), plus some different sleeping pills since the ones I had couldn’t stand up to Captain Midnight Freakout. When I stepped across the lobby to fill the prescription, the pharmacist told me that my insurance had been cancelled.
This was unexpected, to say the least.
We have to work 300 hours per semester in order to keep our insurance, but any excess hours can be put into a bank so that if we do come up short for some reason (like being out of work for four months because of a strike), we can pull hours out of the bank so as not to lose our insurance. Right before the writer’s strike, my bank was completely full, and I did get some work during the semester, so I figured I’d qualified and when I didn’t get anything in the mail I thought they were just being slow about sending me the new cards and forgot about it.
Turns out, I didn’t work enough hours and had to pull out of my bank. This, I’m learning, does not happen automatically – they send you a letter asking you if you’d like to pull from your bank and guess who didn’t get hers?
Yup. I never got the letter, so I never even thought to call and ask about my status. Also, as it turns out they don’t send any kind of notice when they cancel your insurance. They just kick you off.
The pharmacist has clearly dealt with this problem (and the accompanying outburst) before. She just calmly told me to give them her fax number and fax over that form that I never got in the mail so I could sign it and they could restart my coverage.
Which they did, and then I sat and waited for them to fax the pharmacist back letting her know that all was good and she could fill my prescription.
And I sat. And sat. And sat.
Finally, I called the office back and reached a very frazzled-sounding woman who informed me that they might or might not be able to do it that day, basically told me to fuck off and then hung up on me.
Normally, this would have bothered me, but I wouldn’t have started to cry.
Which, of course, is exactly what I did. Right there in front of a dozen people in the clinic’s lobby.
I hate it when I start to cry. Some women manage to just look sad and kind of moist, but not me – my face gets all red and blotchy, my nose starts running like a faucet, and I get these hiccups which make it impossible to speak coherently.
I guess it worked out, though – as I stood there by the window of the pharmacy, blotchy and blubbering and hiccuping the pharmacist gave me the prescription, charged me the normal co-pay and told me that they’d call me if Motion Picture hadn’t updated my status by late this afternoon.
Now, I’m an adult and I’m certainly not asking to be mollycoddled by an insurance company, but what the fuck?
Why couldn’t they just send me a notice informing me that I was going to be dropped? Or how about one of those creepy automatic phone messages? One of those would have been great (“Hello _health plan participant_ this call is to inform you that your _motion picture_ insurance will terminate on _July first_ unless we hear from you about your _bank of hours withdrawal_. Thank you”), and I hear those autodialers aren’t all that expensive.
The postal delivery in Los Angeles isn’t quite as reliable as we’d like, so there’s a chance the bank of hours notice that I was supposed to get is sitting in the mailbox of some abandoned house somewhere, or being digested by the mailman-eating pitbull on the next street over (he doesn’t eat the actual letter carrier, he just chases them and then when they drop the bag full of mail, he eats that. He’s also developed an immunity to pepper spray. And people wonder why I don’t get my mail half the time).
I should be considerably more upset about this than I am, though – if the insurance company decides not to update my info until, say, next Thursday, I’m going to get a bill for the full price of the medication and the doctor’s office visit, but I’m pretty calm right now.
I’m also calm about the news that martinis are now off-limits (as is all other alcohol) while I’m on the meds. Since I do love a good martini, this should make me sad, but somehow it doesn’t.
Guess that means the medication’s working.