We are almost to the solstice and for most of December so far I have felt somewhat unmoored. It’s been hard to focus on what I think of as “work,” though holiday projects are giving me a good excuse this week at least. I have had lots of unscheduled time and have managed to feel, at the end of most days, as if I have squandered most of it. Projects I am in the middle of have been hanging fire since sometime in November waiting for me to find my way back to them. Or fight my way back to them, or wade (through dozens of smaller immediate tasks swarming around my figurative legs). I have kind of felt as if I’ve been drifting farther and farther from that grounded place where I can assess my tasks, prioritize, tackle ’em, and end up having done what I set out to do, on a daily or weekly basis.
Part of the muddle has been last-minute notification of big health-insurance changes. Our access as a small business to a very good insurance plan from our very good local non-profit health-insurance company (CDPHP) has made the insurance part of this past year very easy. Now that access is going away because of a change in the law about which types of small business can access group insurance plans, and our broker did not tell us about the change until early December (though the change to the law was made a year ago…we are switching brokers).
Then the next day New York Oncology Hematology, where I see my oncologist and get chemo, sent us a letter saying they are not signing a new contract with CDPHP because of a dispute over reimbursement fees, and as of February 1 any NYOH charges will not be covered by CDPHP. Whoah! Depth-charge explodes in the already roiling waters of the Harris-Braun health-insurance pond. (News coverage of the pending breakup)
Figuring out what to do about all this, and then getting started doing it, took us most of our attention last week. Eric did most of the legwork, and made an amazing plan-comparison spreadsheet, for all which I am just so grateful. The NYOH office staff gave us a lot of their time to a) listen to us complain about their handling of the situation and their truthfulness to patients and b) help us figure out how to find out information from insurers that would help us make a plan. We talked to both companies, and both say they are still working to resolve the issue. Many voice-mail prompts were followed in vain and much on-hold music was listened to. Now we have a plan for moving forward, but there is still a fair amount to do, and if NYOH and CDPHP don’t settle this before mid-January, we will have to switch to a different insurer.
Changing health-insurance companies has a lot of down sides–most importantly, we can’t get any assurance that the other insurer will cover my chemo drug (since it is slightly off-label use). Second-most importantly, we have had a plan with coverage extending to a national network that includes many fancy cancer places like Dana-Farber and Sloan Kettering, and for now we don’t have that anymore, and we may not be able to get that with another insurer. Yikes!
Through this foggy time I have managed to pretty much keep up with exercise, both walks and cardio/interval training, doing both most days. I have company most days, which is great and keeps me going. The weather means we are doing more exercise indoors. I’m also keeping up with green veggies, my various I’ll-bet-on-them-under-the-circumstances supplements, and of course chemo, IV vitamin C, and acupuncture. My last round of chemo was easier than usual, maybe because I got an extra week off beforehand for Thanksgiving travel. (We went to Houston for Thanksgiving with family, which was really nice, and I ran 3 miles for the first time in my life, with my sister!)