I could not seem to solve the problem. No matter who I spoke to and repeated the long, complicated facts, it wasn’t changing the situation. I would wake up in the morning with my heart racing because it would be the first thought on my mind.
In February of 2020, a letter had arrived in the mail that my daughter’s health insurance would be terminated. There was no reason for this, as she had paid her premium each month, so it was not making any sense at all.
The correspondence arrived on February 14, with an end date of February 29. It was a leap year, so that gave her an extra day before the lights were shut off.
To add to the uproar, she was sick. Thinking of the time, I am sure she had Covid before it became popular. We hadn’t gone into all the shutdowns and restrictions that were upcoming in March. The public knew something was brewing, but we had not been given the full-blown details at that point.
She had all the earmarks of the disease. The rash on her legs, the high fever, fatigue, and eventually, it all went into her lungs. I was watching her closely as I always do, but on top of this, she was trying to figure out why her coverage was on the chopping block.
She refused to go to the doctor, feeling it would eventually go away. On the day she lost her voice entirely, I was starting to have visions of throwing her over my shoulder and not giving her any choice but to go in.
The fatigue was overwhelming as she tried to sit up on the couch long enough so I could dial the number to speak to a representative. This cancellation was not happening at the insurance company level. This was our state-run marketplace where she had chosen a policy. I had my tangles with them for mine. And once they mess something up, it’s long wait times and confusion. Someone can push the wrong button, and life becomes a nightmare.
“May I have your name and social security number?” she said.
I explained that she had laryngitis.
“I see. Well, she has to permit me to speak to you about her case, or I cannot help.”
“You have to try,” I said, looking at my daughter.
She gulped down water and started to move her lips. If a dinosaur could talk, that’s what it sounded like as she tried to force out her name and give consent.
The state fairy godmother granted us our wish, which began the long, arduous process that would consume me with worry day and night.
More letters would come claiming that if they didn’t hear from her, that on the 29th, she would be uninsured. This was after we called in daily to check on the status of where this was going. We were told there was a “glitch” in the system. Ignore the threats; they weren’t real, they said. They seemed very credible, and in the meantime, her symptoms were getting worse instead of better.
I called the insurance company directly and was told it was out of their hands. I had to keep going to the state-run system to get this fixed. I could not believe that this was such a mess, and it seemed like no one was in the state of emergency that we were.
I contacted a woman who had connections behind the scenes and strategies that I had no access to. Finally, I had found an advocate who seemed to be as riled up as I was.
“They do things so stupidly,” she said. She promised to help.
It was the final week of February, with no progress made, and all of it was hanging over my daughter’s head. Six days before the dreaded date, we did a conference call again.
A MNSure representative answered. This was number 10, at least. The maddening thing is that you never get the same person twice. I explained the trouble. Impatiently she snapped,
“I need to read the notes that we have. I’m putting you on hold.”
We were used to that, but I wasn’t accustomed to how she spoke to me. She acted like we had created the problem, forgetting we were the reason why she had a job in the first place.
My daughter could hear me taking deep breaths. After a long pause, the representative returned and started rattling off information that was not accurate. Each time I tried to let her know this, she spoke over me as if reprimanding a small child. I kept inhaling and would exhale while speaking, and she would not back off and listen. I was running out of air.
“I need to speak to someone up higher than you.” I could not withstand the verbal beating anymore.
I purposely tried to get her to understand that this was over her ability to help, which didn’t fly so well. There were more accusations as if my daughter had caused all of this when it was a human error on their part.
More oxygen in,
“I want someone else to help us.”
When she said that, I started speaking to my daughter, who had been quietly listening to this nonsense.
“Can you believe this person?!” I said everything that I had wanted to say, believing we were on hold. My language was not for general audiences but for a more mature crowd.
“What did you say? I thought I heard you say something.” She was still on the line with us. “Do you need anything else?” It was a taunting tone that suggested she was on a power trip.
“Transfer us like you said,” my daughter barked.
“You have a good day now,” she with a syrupy inflection.
Once we were disconnected from her, I said,
“What was that? Was she even a real?”
Another person answered, and we started the process all over.
That night, before I fell asleep, I decided to forget it. There wasn’t any more I could do; I had exhausted all options.
“I give it to you, God,” I whispered into the darkness.
She continued to suffer through her sickness, and before her coverage expired, I helped her get to a minute clinic. She was asked if she traveled outside of the country, and she hadn’t. There was no testing to see what it was or deep dives into who she had been in contact with.
At one point, while instructed to take a deep breath, she almost passed out. I was thankful that I had taken her in.
She was sent home with medication, and by the next day, she fell off her plan for coverage.
She slept through the entire month of March, and when I would start to get nervous, I would just tell God that I needed help. I decided not to fight it anymore, and it got easier. I was not waking up scared, and I felt calmer.
Suddenly, the clouds seemed to part, it was fixed, and by then, she was better.
At the end of it, I had a memory flash through my mind.
I always trusted my brothers, and they all gave me a good reason not to.
One day, one of them came into my room with this strange colorful object in his hand.
“Try this, Chris. It’s really neat.” Right there is where I should have run away.
I willingly and innocently let him shove my index fingers into each end.
“Now, take your fingers out.”
I tried. The material tightened around them more. With each moment of struggle, I lost more of my ability to regain my independence.
He sat back and watched.
I started to feel panicked, which only drove me to want out more.
“I’m stuck!” I said to him.
He did not attempt to help me.
I dropped my hands. I thought if I looked pathetic enough, he would come to my rescue.
“Instead of pulling, push them closer to the middle.”
What? That would be the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish.
I did what he said anyway. Little by little, it loosened, and I was able to get out of it.
When I created a calm mindset and followed instructions, I was able to be entirely free.
“Do you want to keep it?” He said, laughing.
“No,” I said, throwing it at him.
When you are faced with something that seems beyond your ability to handle, remember 1 Peter 5:7 says,
Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. (TLB)
God will never leave you stuck or trapped.