Losing medical insurance can be devastating for people with mental illness. Even a change in insurance coverage can alter, or even endanger, the lives of people suffering mental illness as long-time relationships with medical providers are destroyed and in-depth, personalized medical knowledge is lost. Losing medical insurance can be very tough.
It's dark when I pull into the parking lot. I'm nervous--will he have what I need? Will the price have gone up? What if I can't get it? How will I get through tomorrow--the next day, the day after that--if I don't? My fears are unrecognized, but I can't help noticing the smug, disapproving look on his face as he hands me what I came for. This isn't a back-alley drug deal; it's a simple transaction between me and my pharmacist. So why do I still feel like a common junkie?
My most recent post asked if a parent and child should see the same psychiatrist. The consensus was a resounding "NO." (Honestly, can't you people make anything easy?) Admittedly, upon giving the situation further thought, I'd rather preserve my flawless appearance with Bob's psychiatrist and let someone else be privy to my hot-messiness. And so the search begins. (Sigh.)
Ongoing Problems Lead to a Second Inpatient Hospitalization My recent posts have described my experiences with Bob and inpatient psychiatric treatment. I'm not sure why I'm revisiting that experience now, other than Bob's currently doing relatively well and I don't think I've previously detailed his hospitalizations here. Reading my own words, I'm amazed at how far we've come--and worried about the future.
I had intended to spout on a completely different topic today, but I'll be honest--this insurance business has, to coin a phrase, my dander up. Judging from the majority of comments I've received, I'm not alone.
My son, "Bob," has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD. In my post titled "Insurance Companies Are NOT Psychiatrists--Why Are They Making Decisions?," I discussed how my insurance company has decided not to pay for refills of Bob's psychiatric medications - even though his psychiatrist thinks they are necessary for his mental wellness. Your Child with Mental Illness is Being Over-medicated One reader agrees with the insurance company. Why? Concernedmom says he's "over-medicated".
You have had asthma as long as you can remember--since childhood--and have been seeing the same pulmonologist for at least three years. Your doctor has had you on theophylline, a pill you take three times a day, and a Flovent inhaler (which you use twice daily) for the past year. You went to the pharmacy today and dropped off your scripts, as you do every month, only to be told you can't fill them. Why? Because your insurance company won't approve a prescription for more than 60 theophylline. Nor will they fill a Flovent inhaler for more uses than once daily.
I am a working parent. Some parents work because they love their work; others because they need the money. I’m a little of both—I don’t love my work, but I value my sanity and indoor plumbing. Without my income, we’d have neither. Being a working parent is a juggling act under the best circumstances, but when your child has a chronic illness, it’s virtually impossible. Sadly, parents whose children have a psychiatric illness (like my son, Bob, who has bipolar disorder and ADHD) struggle with all of those difficulties--and then some.
The first time I sat in a psychiatrist’s office, it was for myself. He scared me. He wasn’t anything like the mom-like therapists I was used to. He barely made eye contact. He asked me a few questions, to which I gave rambling answers. He scribbled. He left the room, returning after a few minutes to hand me a prescription and bid me farewell. I’ve since visited a multitude of psychiatrists—for my own benefit and for Bob’s, my son with bipolar disorder—and found that first experience pretty typical.
Last July, Bob’s psychiatrist handed me prescriptions for lithium, Seroquel, Clonidine, and Focalin. We had discussed this before. Using lithium to treat childhood bipolar disorder was his "last resort", something he waited to prescribe until nothing else worked for Bob. Lithium? Had it come to that? What if even lithium didn’t work?