Tag Archives: insurance

DUI Depression 10 Years Later

The day I got my DUI seems like a million years ago. In fact, it was about 9 years and a month ago. While I don’t remember much of my 20s, I do remember that night all too clearly. All the bad decisions I made. The reckoning of my entire self identify as a “good girl” all lost in one evening of drinking too much wine at a networking event and, in the days before uber, driving home after waiting what I thought was long enough to sober up — when it clearly wasn’t.

What followed my DUI was deserved, but that doesn’t negate how horrible it was. A night at the jail handcuffed to a chair. Six weekends of “community service,” the classes, the  $10k+ in costs… or more, I stopped counting. Years later, I just want to forget about it. I made a commitment to myself that night that if I was ever to drink again, I would take public transport or uber to get home. And since then I haven’t received a DUI, nor have I had any reason to get one — because I don’t drive after drinking. Ever.

This doesn’t stop my past from haunting me. In applying for home insurance, it has come up that purchasing car insurance alongside it as a bundle could save on our total rate. Well–guess what? These companies immediately ask me if I had a DUI in the last 10 years. Sadly, my conviction was in November 2011, which is still under 10 years ago. Many companies said they won’t insure me at all. One said they might be able to get an override, but I wouldn’t qualify for a good driver discount.

Luckily I have car insurance now and it’s a fair rate so it’s not the end of the world, but it really feels like a sharp gutting of my heart in being reminded of the horrible mistake in my past. I don’t want to forget about it, but I also don’t want to be reminded of it anymore. I was 25 then. I’m 36 now. I’m just in a different place in my life.

The only good news is that this reminded me that in one year I won’t have the DUI on my motor vehicles report anymore. It will still show up when employers search my records — and will still make it hard to get into Canada — but at least, soon, I can kind of move on. I though I had moved on. But clearly I haven’t. So I’m a bit depressed this evening. Embarrassed of my former self. Acknowledging I am the same hot mess I was then, only a little better when it comes to decision making.

This comes on top of an incredible amount of stress (probably too much) in trying to figure out home insurance. I don’t get what we are supposed to be covered for and I don’t know how much we should be covered for. The replacement costs all the agencies are providing seem way too low given I’m told in the Bay Area it costs $500-$600+ per square foot to build. I thought the home insurance part of home buying would be straight forward (bank wants you to be covered for the cost of the loan, you get covered for the cost of the loan, and you’re good.)

I’m stressed out because I’m in the middle of this closing process and we’re still awaiting the appraisal and we’re still waiting to find out if we can get the property insured (or maybe we already have a policy we haven’t paid for — I’m confused) — and one company that was high rated said they may not insure us because there are galvanized pipes and every company is asking me how old the roof is and I don’t have any idea as the seller’s report does not say and our landlord doesn’t know. And this insurance agent I spoke with kind of freaked me out about the galvanized pipe issue. So there’s another thing we’ll have to fix when we move in, possibly. So many things.

I just want to be happy right now. I want to feel like this is an accomplishment and I want this opportunity to feel good just for a few minutes, you know? But at the moment I feel like absolute shit. Scared. Ashamed of my past. And just trying to get through this process to buy the house and figure out what really needs to be fixed and how much it will cost to make it safe and reduce risk as much as possible.

New pipes, huh?

I Just Locked In $2M of Term Life Insurance for $2600 per year

I guess I should be grateful that one agency decided to offer me a “standard” policy. Consider this your daily PSA kids–get term life insurance when you are young, healthy, and can qualify.

While healthcare has government regulations in place to assure you aren’t getting completely screwed over, life insurance has none of this. What this means that life insurance agencies can make you pay more for being “risky” or flat-out deny you, and they won’t even tell you WHY you were denied.

While I’m in the overweight (not obese) category, which makes me higher risk to start, that should not prevent me from getting approved for term life insurance. What prevents me from getting approved, shockingly, is my history of depression.  Apparently having a history of depression means that I’m uninsurable.

One agency offered me a quote at “standard” rates… and given I now understand how uninsurable I am, I’m taking them up on a 30 year $2M policy just to be safe for $2600 a year. I might be over insuring at this point, but I can always drop the policy down in the future if I no longer need that much coverage. I look at my son and think, god, what would happen if I get hit by a bus and my family is left without my income. I can’t leave them like that.

I do have a $300k policy through work, but that’s pocket change for what is really needed, and the likelihood of my working for the same company for the next 30 years (or one that offers similar benefits) is very slim to very none. So that’s a “bonus” should I get hit by a bus tomorrow, but we need a real policy to provide coverage in case I kick the bucket a little early.

$2600 a year seems like a lot (heck, it is a lot, especially since we’re now looking into getting my husband who is 37 with medication-treated chronic high blood pressure his own policy, plus a disability policy since as a self-employed person he does not qualify for government coverage should he get insured or sick and not be able to work. I’m expecting our total insurance coverage to cost us around $8k a year, which is shit, but it is what it is.  Better safe than sorry, I guess.

It’s just so frustrating with life insurance that they can charge me whatever they want and not explain why I’m getting charged this. I wish I was approved by more than one company so I’d have options to compare, but my broker reached out to many companies and only one provided a quote (well apparently another table rated me and he said the quote was so high he didn’t bother sharing it with me.) I should be happy to have a “standard” quote. I hope this agency didn’t somehow miss something in my medical history that will disqualify me later, but they all saw the same information and bloodwork results…

It sounds like after two years of paying premiums it’s harder for them to refuse to pay out if you get hit by a bus… which means if I die in the next two years by getting hit by a bus, they’ll probably accuse me of walking into said bus (even if I’m standing on the sidewalk minding my own business and the bus hits me.) That really sucks, because for the next two years I’m paying for coverage but I’m not really covered at all. After that, I’ll be covered, I just have to come up with the $2600 a year to pay for insurance.

So I’m semi kicking myself for not applying for insurance before I got pregnant, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made… a 30 year policy would have lasted 2 years less at that point, and I still had depression on my medical record, just not PPD yet (and my short disability leave due to it.) I’m unclear if the reason these companies denied me was my PPD, or if it was my record of “major depression” or my not taking medication or what. It’s crazy they don’t have to explain why they won’t give you a policy, they can just deny you and that’s that.

And, am I really that much more likely to die in the next 30 years because I’m depressed and going to therapy? You’d think the many people out there who are depressed but not willing to admit it and who are NOT going to therapy are more likely to end up dead than someone who is being treated.

If they actuarially think I’m such a high risk that they won’t insure me at all–that it isn’t even worth taking some ridiculously high premiums to insure me–then should I be concerned? I mean, am I going to die in the next 30 years because I’m depressed? I’d prefer not to.


Go to the Doctor… or Wait Until January 1? A case of a restarting high deductible.

Following a sore throat-turned-larigiytus, I had a five day period of optimal health, then started sneezing out of no where, bringing on my current quite bad chest cold. It’s rare for me to get this sick, and this often – but for a pregnant woman apparently it’s normal to have a drop in immunity (to not reject baby) and thus you’re susceptible for a whole host of ills. Fun!

Colds, as anyone who has been to the doctor knows, cannot be helped by medical intervention. They just check your breathing and tell you to rest and drink lots of fluids. This is why, unlike my mother and sister – who manage to get antibiotics every time they so much as sneeze – I tend to avoid the doctor in the case of sniffling or coughing. Continue reading Go to the Doctor… or Wait Until January 1? A case of a restarting high deductible.

Yet Another Example of the Fucked Up Health Insurance System

Thanks to Gawker blog The Consumerist for pointing me to the latest news about why the health insurance system, especially for self-employed individuals, is broken in so many ways.

“Cancer Patient Wins $9 Million From HealthNet in Arbitration Settlement.”

The LA Times has more details. Basically the woman was lied to while signing up for her policy, and then dropped as soon as HealthNet could cancel her “fairly” with their corrupt and unclear policies.

When HealthNet signed her up, this is apparently what happened…

“When asked about her weight, she told him her weight on her driver’s license was 185lbs. She never told Torrez to change the weight, nor was she aware that the weight had been changed.”

So… when this woman ended up getting breast cancer, they used the fact that she “gained” weight in order to bump her from the policy. Except, she hadn’t gained weight at all. The person who filled out her form while signing her up changed her weight so she would be accepted.

All of this hits close to home for me. While I (luckily) do not have breast cancer or any illness like that, I do fear my health insurance policy being canceled if I ever have to use it. That seems kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it?

As many of you remember, I had to lie on my health insurance application to get accepted.

My health insurance agent basically told me in so many words that my best option was to lie. He wouldn’t go on record about that, but he said my odds of getting health insurance while being completely honest about my pre-existing conditions (polycystic ovary sydnrome/irregular periods and major depression) were slim to none.

And he was right. The first time I applied through Pacific Care, I was entirely honest. My health insurance agent filled out the form for me as I told him my details by phone. Later, when I reviewed the information he entered before signing the form, I noticed he had taken some creative license in describing my conditions. I tweaked the language so it was 100% accurate.

A few weeks later I was declined coverage. Not for depression, which we both thought would be what held me back, but for the “irregular periods.”

As my fellow personal finance bloggers LuluGal and Escape Broklyn can attest, “irregular periods” are fairly common. And, to be fair, irregular periods often cost the insurance companies lots of money. Both those two gals are getting surgery for their problems. And, from what I understand, insurance is paying for a lot of the surgery, even though it won’t be covering everything.

For me… I don’t know if I’ll ever need surgery for my various ovarian problems. Because I know about the problems and because I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, the cheapest way to maintain my health is to take birth control pills on a regular basis. Except my catastrophic health insurance does not cover medication. So I don’t take any.

Ultimately I was approved for health insurance. I had to lie to get approved. Well, I left off the depression and kept on the irregular periods bit. So now I can lose my coverage if they ever realize I lied about depression, and anything health problems I might have that relate to polycystic ovary syndrome won’t be covered anyway. This leaves me wondering why I bother with health insurance at all!

I really hope that Obama or Clinton get elected and then make some major progress in getting the health insurance companies in check. While I hate paying taxes, if I’m going to pay taxes I want them to be going towards keeping people in this country healthy… not fighting some trillion dollar war we can’t win.

When Paying Late = Saving Money

I set this afternoon aside to organize all of my late bills and pay off what I can. My auto insurance bill was two payments behind (out of sheer laziness on my part). So I called up and requested to pay it off. It turned out they had my wrong address down, and then when they found out I moved (closer to work) I was told that I could get a discount for driving a shorter distance each year.

So I’m saving something like $100 a year just for calling up because I was late paying my bill. Also, I found out if I pay online w/ auto pay (which I was planning on signing up for anyway, it just wasn’t working because they had my old zip code down), I can save $50 a year. Sweet.

I’m still probably paying too much because I have full comprehensive coverage in case my car gets broken into again and I have to get the window repaired. After having it broken into two without the full comprehensive coverage I signed up for it, and low and behold it got broken into again and I got it fixed for “free.”

Meanwhile I just paid off my dermatologist bill and put my medical claim filings into an envelope to be sent out. Now I just have to get my health insurance set up on auto pay and I’m set… as long as I have enough $$$ in my checking account. I’m keeping it fairly low, which is scary for me. I usually keep a few thousand dollars in savings with free overdraft in case I overdraw my checking. I refuse to let myself rack up credit card bills, so I use my debit card for just about everything. That kind of sucks when my bank account runs dry, but otherwise works quite nicely.

Health Insurance Hell — And I thought this part of the saga was over!

In 2006, I was covered under COBRA. My father was paying the bills to help me get started out after college, and he paid those bills on time until I got my first full-time job with health benefits.

During the time I had COBRA through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, I went to see a gynecologist for a standard yearly exam. She had me get bloodwork done at the local lab. I filled out all the appropriate paperwork and thought I’d owe a small co-pay and that would be the end of it.

Two years later, I’m still dealing with this never-ending drama of trying to get health insurance to pay this bill. There is absolutely no logical reason why they should not pay the full amount (minus a co-pay), but I’ve been harassed by J & L Teamworks (a collection agency) on and off since my appointment, saying I owe about $1000. What???

Finally, after speaking on the phone to about 20 billion people, I thought I had everything settled in November. I wanted to be done with the mess for good, so I walked into the billing office of Mills Peninsula Hospital, where the lab services were done and apparently where the gynecologist bills her visits through if they haven’t been paid on time (they weren’t paid on time because they billed the wrong insurance and/or because my address (which I updated on my account by sending in a hand-written letter as requested) was added to my account incorrectly.) I’m still unclear what actually happened. All I know is I started getting calls from the collection agency, and they’ve barely stopped since.

In Nov of 07, I really thought the saga was over. I fixed my address on my account, I walked into the hospital’s billing office and spoke with a nice woman who promised me that everything would be fixed. She even called the collection agency while I was there and said they won’t be bothering me again… that they have to wait 30 days before legally being able to call me, and by then everything should be processed.

Fast forward those 30 days and without fail, those calls started up again. I didn’t want to deal with it. I was hoping it would all clear if I just ignored it. Of course, that never works.

So today I called J & L Teamworks. They told me that insurance paid for about $200 of the entire bill, but I still owe something like $700.

That doesn’t make any sense! If insurance paid for any of it, why are they only paying $200? I would understand if this was one of my newer insurances, but this was full COBRA of the policy I had since I was a kid. They couldn’t even knock me for pre-existing conditions, had this been something that they might have got out of paying that way. But this was for a routine gynecological exam and bloodwork. I was on a PPO. My father paid something like $230 a month to keep me on it. I know I was covered. And that bill should be paid.

Of course since I live on the West Coast now and all of my records are back East, I have to deal with the time difference when calling. So it’s too late to give a call to Highmark today. I’ll have to call first thing in the morning and find out why the fuck this didn’t get paid.

What really pisses me off is that I’ve racked up about $200 in interest on these bills… part of it is my fault because I did at times want to just ignore it because I knew insurance should cover the bill… but othertimes I was told by different people that it was all taken care of, then a month would go by, or two months, and then I’d find out it hadn’t processed. Or it only partially processed.

All of my trouble with health insurance makes me kind of glad that I’m finally on a high deductible plan. It’s nice to have the safety net (costing $1350 a year) in case I get into a major accident or something, but otherwise I’ll just pay for everything that I need to do out of my pocket. I’m a little worried about how expensive that will all be… but I figure if I check out the services offered by Planned Parenthood, I might be able to get by without spending gobs of money, and without having to deal with any more bs-talking health insurance agents and collection agencies!

I Can’t Get Affordable Health Insurance

Do I really need healthcare?

Well, apparently I was denied coverage from PacifiCare due to my pre-existing conditions. That’s not good, since my health insurance agent basically told me that they’re the most lenient when it comes to this stuff, and I didn’t even note on my application that I have “major depression.” I just put down that I have anxiety/depression and took Lexapro and Xanax for this problem for one month each. To be honest, I’m done with meds for anxiety forever. I don’t like them, they don’t help, they make me feel sick, and they cost too much, even with insurance. I also noted that I have irregular periods, but I didn’t label it as “PCOS” because I thought that might get me denied. Oh, and I mentioned that I did have a ruptured cyst on my ovary last year. Yea, so I was pretty honest, minus fibbing a bit on my mental health diagnosis.

Anyway, fuck, I wasn’t approved. Now what? Well, my options, according to my agent, are signing up for a state plan where I’d be pre-approved but it would cost more. $240 a month for Kaiser, or $290 for Blue Cross. I’m pretty sure these are high deductable plans too. Yea right. I don’t make enough for those plans.

In short, it looks like I’m going to have to go without health insurance for the next ten years. I think that’s when I can wipe my mental health problems off my record. Let’s hope I don’t get into any near-fatal accidents between now and then.

Gosh this makes me sad.