Thursday, January 26, 2006

Conspiracy Theory or Incompetent?

Now, I’m not too proud to accept government assistance when the need should arise. Throughout the history of my married life we I have seen my family use food stamps, WIC and Medicaid. Whenever our situation improved, we moved on from needing to rely on these services. After all, I pay taxes like everyone else (should), the service is there, and I don’t feel that I’ve abused the service.

Now that brings me to the point of my discussion. I am a full time student working part time (a first for me in my married life of not working full time). As such, I only make a portion of what I need for my family to subside on (enter the student loans to subsidize the event). Premiums for healthcare through Texas Tech are $650.00/month for my family and that doesn’t even include dental. (Keep in mind that this insurance is offered through the State of Texas…the largest employer of the State and this is the best rates they could get…)

Which brought me to the point of applying for CHIP to at least get some coverage for my children. Our application process started in the first week of October. To make the long story not quite so long, we had a series of back-and-forth correspondences (via phone and mail) about “missing information” on our application. Each time we spoke to someone on the phone they were able to “magically” find the missing information. Three times we received a notice in the mail that the information we had given them was incomplete. Three times we talked to them on the phone to resolve the problem. (side note- all mail correspondences from them were addressed to me yet the one time I tried calling to complain, I was told that my name was not on the approved contact list and therefore I had no right to discuss the matter with them.) This prompted me to write a letter of complaint to the “powers that be” at TexCare. Come to find out later that this letter was being used against us. We finally found one customer service rep (Pam) that was trying to help us and told us what she perceived has happened and notified us that because I work for the State, my application would have to be sent over to the SKIP department. This was all back in December.

In the middle of January, we received word from Pam, who told us that our application was being denied and to expect a letter shortly explaining the reasons. She gave us tips on how to appeal the decision. The letter arrived, but it never specified why our application had been denied. We followed Pam’s instructions and sent the letter in. Today we received a new letter stating that our children were ineligible because they were covered by another insurance. (Presumably by my former employer in Utah, who dropped our insurance when we moved to Texas.)

So four months later my kids still do not have any medical coverage and I don’t foresee anything happening in the future. Granted, certain government operated agencies have a bad rap, but I think this one ranks in more ways than one.

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