I've been thinking a lot about pride.
What does a humble life look like?
How does a person live humbly within themselves and among others?
What does it feel like to make decisions without comparing myself to others or the world and not feel either that bit of I-measure-up pride or the despair of the pride I have being punctured?
This is what got me thinking:
Health insurance. Jeremy has always been able to provide health insurance through Omni (since we decided I would stay home with our children). The cost of health insurance has steadily and rapidly increased to the point that it was a considerable financial burden for the premium and we still had large deductible and copays to keep the premium within reach.
This month Jeremy was advised by our long time health insurance broker to not provide insurance based on the significant increase in premium costs and seek government or government subsidized insurance for our family.
Enter Anna's dental crisis. We have been waiting for dental insurance knowing that our policy is up for renewal so we have been delaying scheduling Anna's treatment. Last week Anna's tooth started hurting to the point that I had to take her in. We forced an x-ray and she needed antibiotics. Since she is having pain her treatment will be expedited and is considered "emergency" now. So the kind resident asks me if their Medicaid Application Counselor can reach out to me. With tears building I say "yes" because that was the next phone call on my list to make anyway.
I'm a social worker by nature and education. I'm the one to help people navigate "the system." I wrote a grant for just that purpose. I'm not the one who is supposed to be using "the system." The kind lady called me immediately and when I spoke to her my pride made me tell her that I'm a social worker. My pride made me choke up as I made the list of documents that I needed to provide to prove that we qualify.
I met with her. She was thrilled that we had completed the application up to the last click on our own. She told me that all six of us qualify for zero premium. She explained to me how to navigate the application process. Maybe pridefully I told her we would scan and email the documents she needed. Of course, that did save me having to drive them to her office.
Tears rolled out of my eyes on my way home (and maybe I'm tearing up as I'm typing). I had to fight those evil voices telling me that we are poor. We aren't providing for our children. "They" must think we were irresponsible in our choice to have a large family.
None of it is true. The system has made it difficult for smaller entrepreneur business owners living the American Dream. We pay plenty of taxes. We are upstanding citizens contributing to society so if the government wants to give us a chance to stay in business I should thank them for letting me use tax dollars we paid for our family's health care. I shouldn't feel ashamed and humiliated for doing what is best for my family.
So our State of Maryland Medical Assistance Program cards arrived yesterday and I called today and chose our Managed Care Organization and Anna's treatment is scheduled and will happen soon. The treatment that we thought would cause us debt or at least a payment plan will not be a financial burden for us.
What has caused me tears and embarrassment is actually a gift and something that I am grateful for at this time in our lives.
Another level of pride will be dealt with when I hand our new cards to practices where we have been long time patients. I will also have to leave a practice that does not accept Medicaid in any form.
It's funny how when a personal growth issue is made obvious in an incident, I become aware of it in plenty of other areas of my life. That too, is a gift.