Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome Home, Hillary, You have Bills

Welcome Home, Hillary, you have BILLS!
I get home from the hospital, check the mail, and SURPRISE, I see a letter from my long term disability company.
Apparently, there is a misunderstanding as to what the word PERMANENT means, as in, I am PERMANENTLY disabled.
I need to provide evidence again that I am still recovering from the same stem cell transplant I was in October.
I also need to give them a waiver to speak with social security regarding my “reward” (that’s what they call the money I receive monthly).
Heaven forbid I be living the highlife on social security and disability while I suffer.
Heaven forbid I go an entire 6 months without submitting proof that my permanent disability is still permanent, and I have not, somehow, miraculously, recovered faster than any other patient in history.
Maybe, just maybe, those “lifelong” side effects I signed off on somehow did not affect me.
Possibly, I am that person, and the company needs to know, so it can cut off my income immediately.
Since, I’m not, they’re just going to keep making me jump through hoops to stay in their good graces and keep my livelihood coming.
Do you want to know what happens if I don’t?
I made the error of failing to submit my social security letter to the disability company during my chemotherapy in 2006.
I started receiving social security in Oct. 2006 during the period I was prepping for my first transplant.
Not knowing the nasty nature of my cancer, I would undergo a chemotherapy regimen, take a couple weeks off to recover, be admitted to the hospital for my procedure, only to discover WOW, my cancer had come back.
I had to start at square one, with a new chemotherapy regimen, a new schedule, and more side effects to achieve remission for transplant.
Silly me, I missed the small print telling me to keep the disability company in the financial loop.
Wasn’t I surprised when I got a “Dear Hillary” letter from the company telling me to IMMEDIATELY PAY BACK their over payment of $7000 or never receive a check again until the balance was paid.
Yes, this is the threat if I don’t meet their demands.
They’ll stop paying me, no ifs, ands, or buts, no recourse, no appeal process.
Do not pass go, you are now more broke than before.
And if for some reason there is an error in accounting, if I make a misstep for some crazy reason like I’m in the hospital receiving treatment, I WILL be paying them back.
It doesn’t matter if my family starves. It doesn’t matter if I lose my house. It doesn’t matter if I can no longer pay my deductibles.
My bills can still go to collections. I can still have agents waking me up at 7 am to collect.
Then it would be, welcome home, you can’t get rest, you have bills to pay.
The disability company needs to make a profit, and by being sick, I’m seriously cutting into those margins.
It appears, since I legitimately qualify for these benefits, the only possibility to remove me from their service is to make meeting my end of the agreement impossible.
I get sent paperwork to fill out. I receive phone calls requesting records from EVERY physician that treats me. I sign waivers for the company to access private records. If a miss a detail, I’m rejected.
I work as a secretary/middleman even though I get benefits because I am UNABLE to do these duties.
I am so lucky just to have insurance. However, I wouldn’t be able to keep it if I didn’t have assistance.
I don’t understand how companies that insure me because I am too sick and disabled to do these duties can penalize me, stopping services, because I am not well enough to submit their paperwork.
Just in case it was hard to wrap your mind around that (I know it was for me), let’s try to get this straight: I’m repeatedly required to provide evidence that I’m incapable of doing the work it takes to provide the evidence
Funny, isn’t it?
But not funny “ha ha.” It’s funny weird.


brynn said...

I think "rediculous" fits too.

Valerie said...

That is INSANE, Hillary. We went through a lot of the crazy disability check stuff with my Dad (who died of leukemia in October). It's a nightmare. He was too sick to do anything, but was expected to fill out mountains of paperwork. It always felt like the disability company was HOPING he'd forget to fill something out so they could cut him off.

Sorry you have to deal with any of it!

Anonymous said...

I think that is the scenario with ALL insurance companies and/or government agencies. I suspect they hope that you will be so overwhelmed that you will just walk away and think it is not worth the effort. Like all else, persistence is the key word.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the disability companies need to make the rules for the few (those who inappropriately take advantage of disability) instead of for the many (those who truly are disabled). There is always one (or multiple) bad apples that spoil the whole bunch...maybe I'll make that my fight...
Laura Z.