Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bittersweet promotion

Its been a while since I've posted. As a result of venting on this blog, I'm finding things easier to deal with when it comes to HIV related issues so my need to write things out isn't as strong.

There was a comment left on the last post that got me thinking....dealing with the technicalities of HIV medication, doctor appointments, agencies, insurance coverage, finances, etc.

When my husband and I first got married, he had been living on our state's disability income, was given $600 per month since he was diagnosed with a "fatal" disease, and was deemed unable to work. He was also granted our state's medicare, basically given free treatment and medication. It was a great set-up. Not having to worry about employers finding out about his HIV, not dealing with private insurance companies, free medication, and a check to boot!

But, he had to jump through a lot of hoops to access his health care. Had to go to a certain clinic, had limited medication options, and getting an appointment took at least 3 months. There were also many times when the quality of the care was less than ideal. Such as the time we went to a "specialist" doctor who had on gloves, a mask, and wouldn't touch him during the examination. Just looked at him from a few inches away. But...it was all free so he wasn't complaining.

Well, now he's just been offered a full-time position with full benefits. Normally this is a good thing, but we're stressing. What will this mean for us? Will he have to tell his boss and co-workers about the HIV? Will he be denied insurance coverage because of the condition? Will his new doctor be kind and gracious? Will we have to pay for the medication? What about the quality of care from the nurses, laboratories, experts and specialist?

It doesn't seem fair that a person dealing with such a serious illness should be stressing over HAVING ACCESS to quality health care when so many in this world do not. But it is the reality and we have some tough decisions to make ahead. His increase in salary means the state's medical coverage will no longer cover his appointments, medicine, etc. so we will need to make our decision soon. Does he accept the full-time position, or continue part-time? Does he accept the medical insurance and start all over with a new doctor and health care team? (He's been seeing the same doctor at the same facility for fifteen years) What if he's denied coverage? What if his boss (who is a doctor)/co-workers find out? (Did I mention he works at a hospital?)

We've asked a few benefits experts and gotten different story every time.

So...what to do. I don't know.