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Day 67 — Getting Over Embarrassment

I’m about to use Medicaid again, this time for an ob-gyn appointment. I’m not pregnant so it comes down to a gynecological appointment. I haven’t had one in several years. I’ve skipped this appointment over the years because my former employer made me feel like I would lose my job if I skipped work too many times.

And seeing doctors, especially when they’re out of your health insurer’s network of approved physicians, is alarmingly expensive. My pediatrician charged me more than $600 for two well-baby checkups for my two pre-teen boys last summer.

As an older person (in my 50s), I should and often need to go the doctors more often. I have bad teeth, arthritis, and a history of cancer in my family. My boys also get sick at least once a year or end up in the emergency room. Stitches on the chin for my youngest when he ran into a pole (he wasn’t looking) and a daredevil dive on the bed, which almost resulted in a broken nose when he hit the headboard instead of the comforter.

Even when I know my doctor, seeing the gyno has got to be my leave favorite doctor’s appointment other than the periodontist, which has become more pleasant since my periodontist now lets me get gas. But I don’t think Medicaid will pay for that. I also need a mammogram and will ask about one when I see my Medicaid doctor, who works at a major D.C. hospital.

Now that I have the time to see a doctor, I’m going to take advantage of it. I need my health, not only for my own sake but for my children’s. They still need a mom, and I want to be there for them, even if I can’t keep up with them on the soccer field.

I’m just getting over the shame of being a Medicaid recipient, but I need it and don’t want to incur any more debt. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, we have more than 48 million uninsured Americans. I bet many of them would qualify for Medicaid if they knew how to apply, or that it was even an option.

I won’t pretend to be an expert on Medicaid, but signing up for it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. In D.C., Medicaid is offered through DC Healthy Families. Once you fill out an application, I’d take the time to visit the D.C. Department of Human Resources at 645 H St. NE rather than mail it in. The social workers there will help you through the process. Visit the D.C. government website for information on where to get an application. As long as you use a doctor that accepts Medicaid, you can get your eyes examined, a regular checkup, a mammogram and see specialty doctors if you need something unpleasant, such as a colonoscopy. Free transportation to and from appointments is another benefit. If your child has special needs, you can get special services for that, too.

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One Response to “Day 67 — Getting Over Embarrassment”

  1. Accidental Olympian says:

    I feel your health care struggle. I not only battle the need to be insured now that I’m unemployed, I also fought for coverage the entire time I was in college. There is a stigma about people like us… But none of us should ever feel weird about asking for help now that we’re struggling.

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