Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some Bitching & Some Ballet

Warning. I'm in a mood. An unpleasant, bitchy, whiny one. So proceed with caution.

My I-171H expires on Oct 26th. So wanting to get as much time out of it as possible, I waited until the last minute to send in my paperwork for the renewal. (Plus if you read through my archives you might figure out that I have a little problem with procrastination. LOL!) Luckily, I qualify for the one free extension and free re-fingerprinting. Which saves me $750 bucks!! Woo Hoo! No... not bitching about that.

But there was a message on the machine from USCIS when I got home today. I thought I was very thorough. I sent in my written request for renewal, a copy of my I-171H, my original homestudy plus an update, birth certificate, and divorce decree. I even sent in the certification and copy of the license of my social worker cuz there's a brief mention of that on their instructions. I wasn't sure if they needed that but I wasn't taking any chances.

But uhmmmm.... I forgot to submit a new I-600a. What? I guess I assumed they didn't need that since I had the existing I-171H and made a written request for renewal. That mistake cost me $16 to overnight it. I didn't want to take any chances and risk them giving me a hard time if I didn't make the deadline. Oh well.

Okay now we're getting into the really bitching part. We're switching to a different health insurance at work. It's a health savings plan. Which means that instead of co-pays, I'll be responsible for 100% of my health care costs until I reach the deductible cap. Which for a single is $2000. For a family it's $4000. But my employer is giving us some money to start off the account. Singles get $1500 and family's get $3000. Now that's better. But the plan still sucks. I pay full price for doctor's visits, prescriptions, everything. No more $20 to just go to the doctor. (Man that was nice.)

When the adoption is complete, I instantly become a family responsible for that $4000 deductible. But I'll only have $1500 in my account. And my employer has no plans to match the $3000 they gave to everybody else. So they will all be responsible for contributing $1000 of their own money. But I get stuck with $2500. I'm just basically screwed there.

I've been arguing my point with our union president who doesn't seem to be all that interested in fighting for what's right. I'm not real happy about that. I explained to him that my adopted daughter will require a very expensive medical evaluation once we get home. He told me that he thinks that's a preventative measure and preventative care is covered at 100% and doesn't count towards our deductible. WTF?! I'm glad he decided that. Unfortunately, he's not the insurance company who will most likely disagree. But he told me to find out what tests are involved and the cost so he could bring that info to the negotiations.

I called Cincinnati Children's Hospital and found out what is involved in a post adoption evaluation. Ay yi yi! The bloodwork alone is in the $2000 range. Yep...you read that right. She didn't break it down dolllar for dollar but basically told me that I could very easily hit my $4000 out of pocket just on this evaluation. Fucking great...

This comes on the heels of finding out that the only way to get the whole 12 weeks of FMLA leave I'm entitled to with the adoption, I have to take 6 of those weeks unpaid. Because I'm not birthing this child, I'm not eligible to use my sick time. Which I have an abundance of (even with being off for 3 months during my near death experience). Instead I have to use vacation time. But I can only carry over 6 weeks from year to year. It's virtually impossible for me to generate enough paid time off. So I'll be forced to go without a paycheck if I want to stay home longer with my new daughter. Just fucking great...


But there was one little bright spot in my day yesterday. Tatum invited me to come watch her at ballet practice. They only let parents and family observe every so often. Usually, they usher the girls in and close the door. It's all secret what they do back there. It was so freakin adorable! All these cutie pies in their leotards.

She really loves the class. And she's good at it. Normally her attention span is pretty short. But she paid attention in class and knew a lot of the routine by heart already. Below she's third from the end, right next to the teacher.

Tatum the prima ballerina. But she's no dainty thing. No way. Click here for an interesting conversation she had with her mother about booger eating. No, I'm not kidding. Being the only girl amongst 3 boys is not always a good thing apparently.
Here's a funny Tatum-ism. She came out of the bathroom with a balled up piece of wet tissue trying to rub off her temporary tattoos before ballet class. (Yeah... remember I said NOT dainty.) I asked if she has toilet paper. She said "No. It's a nose blower." I thought for a second and then said "Ohhhh... you mean a Kleenex."

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

Thanks for listening to the bitching. We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.

30 comments:

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

OK.. so we need to talk about that visit to the IA clinic in Cincy.. NO WAY is it worth the money!! Let me tell you, I would have just preferred to go to my own family physician. What a joke! Again, we definitely need to talk!

And.. I hear ya on the time off thing. That is why I didn't take any time off.. of course, now I'm getting a LOT of time off and I can't even enjoy it. :-(

Sucks.. life just SUCKS right now! I'm bitching and moaning with ya. I vote for Magaritas this weekend during the OSU game.. you up for that?

Kristen said...

Wow.. those medical changes really stink... I hope you can get some things resolved.

On the FMLA front. I have the same issues... my union will not allow me to use any sick time. I have 175 days accrued but so far they are telling me that all 12 weeks for will be unpaid since I don't get any sort of maternity and I'm not considered sick. What I have discovered, however, is that many people have been approved for FMLA Sick leave for all types of stress related issues. I have spoken in depth to my regular Dr. about this and we have decided that at the time we will attempt the PTSD/ stress related high blood pressure due to bonding related needs. And try to get my "sick" leave approved this way, so that I can get paid. She is very willing to do or say what is needed to get me off on a personal (mine) medical related need so that I can use my sick days. Try to find an MD that will work to get your FMLA issued under medical need instead of "child care" (which is how adoption is related). Hope that helps... I know how you feel! I'm ready to fight the big fight with my union!!!

Sandra said...

That sucks!

You know, we never did the Cincinnati Childrens IA clinic. Find yourself a good pediatrician experienced in international adoption and go from there...

Abby's Mom said...

That really stinks about your insurance change! My job won't let me use my sick time either. i have six weeks saved up so far but will be nowhere near the 12 weeks I was hoping for by the time Abby is home :(

Isabella's Mommy & Daddy said...

Okay....
You are allowed to Bitch on those issues...
That insurance is not fair...
That sucks..
And you leave time... Maybe you can use your sick time before you actually use your FMLA???
Love the pictures...
Tatum is adorable..
Looks like she loves her class...
Have a Wonderful Evening..
Did you ever get a answer on the shoes??
Kim

Catherine said...

Wow! That healthcare stuff is just nasty!! Wanna move up here? I have to pay a little something for some things but not like that. Sorry you have to go through that and that your company doesn't understand that you'll soon be a family.

Cute ballet pics.

TBG Happenings said...

Ha! I knew a canadian would be inviting you to move up north!! :) xo catherine:)

Talk to Robin about the clinic. We had all the same test run for Sophie with our doc. I would probably only head to an international clinic etc. if I thought something was not quite right... Insurance crap sucks anyway you look at it!

Cute ballet pics...reminded me of my sister when she was little.

I can't wait to see ya! I could do without the trip to the hospital, but I am so thankful that you will be around!

Joannah said...

Your insurance program sounds terrible! I'd be bitching, too.

Beeb said...

my previous comment may have been too wordy, but the plan may not be as bad as you think. preventative care is 100% covered and the visits that aren't preventative, are at the insurances negotiated discounted rate.
If you v\have to pay a monthly premium this one will likely be significantly less exensive. If you're lucky enough to not have to pay a premium then, yeah, you got screwed.

Carla said...

Yeah, your insurance sucks. And yeah, no sick leave for adoption sucks too. Although I have to tell you, pregnant ladies only qualify for 6 weeks paid maternity leave, and that is usually at 60% since it is short term disablity. If you want longer than that, you're on your own.

And what the hell will they be tsesting this girl for that it is $2000 worth of lab work?!?! Sounds like a racket to me. What's wrong with a regular pediatrician?

Carla said...

Oh yeah, my daughter is adorable. :op Although, I think she may be too loud to be a prima ballerina.

OziMum said...

Far out! Your health system over there - blows! Bloodwork here would cost about $10 for the Drs visit and maybe $30-$50 for the blood tests! I hope you boss thinks Mia is absolutely gorgeous - and gives you the extra, to make your allowance up to the family limit!

Tatum is a lovely ballerina (regardless of whether she eats boggas or not!)

Doris & Dan said...

I second the vote to move to Canada!!

That serious blows big time!

Miss Ballerina is cutey cute!

Keep smilin!

wzgirl said...

All of that insurance BS is so frustrating. Perhaps you can find a doc that will help you find a creative way of using your sick leave (like what Kristen said above) thats what I'm planning on - thankfully my doc is an adoptive Mom, herself. And, you've got time, I'm really hoping that you'll be able to sort out the "preventative" vs. whatever and get what your child needs when it comes time for that. I know how it is when that ol' I171H expires, it stirs up all that worry that had gone to settle for a while.

XO

Liene said...

At least you were only out $16. When we submitted our dossier we forgot my letter of employment or in my case, non-employment. Had to overnight it to D.C., had to pay double for Laura at the Assistant Stork to take it to the appropriate offices and then FedEx it back.

I know you're bitching about your new health care but I've actually heard that HSP's are a better thing that regular health insurance if you & your family are pretty healthy. In my case the HSP is not a good thing and I don't think Lane will ever work with anyone that will use an HSP, but you never know!

And sorry about the vacation time but hey, at least you are not military. They only give us 21 days of vacation time or as they officially call it "leave" when you adopt and that only came about Jan 1 of this year. So when Eriks was adopted Lane almost cleaned out his vacation days taking about 3 weeks. It really stunk! So your 6 weeks is better than 3 but 12 would definitely be better. My only suggestion is that if you really want to take the 12, start saving now to cover expenses while you're off those 6 additional weeks. Might not be easy but I'm sure you could do it. I have faith in you that you would do anything to spend more time with your new baby girl! :)

Anonymous said...

That stinks. I am sorry.
My health insurance recently changed too. Very similar to yours. Plus if I ever did go on maternity leave I wouldn't be paid for it. My company only allows 5 carry over days. Blows!

Ani

Donna said...

I took 12 weeks off when I got Emma and all of it was unpaid! I did have some vacaction saved up, but I went without a paycheck for about 6 weeks - but it was worth it!

Don't even get me started on health insurance...the entire industry is EVIL!

Stephe said...

Bitch anytime...trust me, we ALL FEEL YOUR PAIN. My company just went to the same sort of plan...but I think it's a little better. Our doc visits are only $30 but anything other, you have to hit the $1000 deductable first then 80/20 kicks in. Our company gives us NO money to help with the deductable. When I become a family it will be $2000. $1000 each. So it Giorgia reaches 2000 by herself, it doesn't help me because I still have to reach my 1000. (she only needed to reach 1000 for herself to get 80/20)

The cost of health care sucks. It makes you want to NOT GO. I had pains and passed a kidney stone so I went to the doc...$996 out of pocket to say you've got a couple more...they should pass on their own. Great!

It just sucks. My job...we DO NOT get any SICK TIME period. As far as FMLA goes, you have to use up all of your vacation time FIRST before FMLA kicks in. I HATE the fact that I love my JOB cause it's benefits BITE the BIG ONE!!!

My plan is to just divide my total deductable by 52 weeks and have it automatically dumped into an account. What else can I do! :( (I'm hoping for...outta sight, outta mind)

I just didn't want you to have to bitch alone. I feel for ya! :)

sea star said...

We have insurance, pay more than $500 a month and it still sucks! All of it!

We did not get the free extention on the I-171H...had to pay it all...AGAIN!

Feel free to bitch, you are hanging with the best of bitchers!

Nothing cuter than girls in leotards, even with a tattoo!

Beverly said...

Not to wish bad things on your soon to be daughter but if she is sick when you get her you should be able to claim sick time for her. Most of the babies are sick with something, bronchitis, sinus, pneumonia, something. Glenys had bronchitis and double ear infections.

Beverly

Colleen said...

Oh you have EVERY right to bitch on all of this. The 171H renewal AND the insurance. We had an international adoption specialist for Hannah's referral review and a check up when we got home. It was $500 (not covered by insurance) and wasn't needed. Her pediatrician did all that was needed.

I hope things get better..there is nothing you can do about it so try and move on...and to happier things. Maryellen coming up there?? GOOD STUFF!

eggrolls and chopsticks said...

Bollocks to that insurance change.
I would be bitching worse than you cos we had that kind of insurance a few years back but we switched 2 years ago.

Tatum is one cutie ballerina.I didn't read the booger part yet cos I just ate.

GGHadden said...

Holy shit girl..........your union certinally sucks big time! I know it would be easy to just change depts but that's probably not an option and I'm guessing they are going thru the same crap. Boy this really makes me appreciate our union and they do go to bat for us. Really? you have to pay everything up to $2000.00 DAMN. Oh on another note...can you use cash back? You cash out all of your vacation bank then take FMLA time? That's what my husband is going to do since there is a cap on his vaca bank. Maybe check that option out, then you will actually have gotten paid...it's all politics!

G

kris said...

That is the most RIDICULOUS insurance plan I've ever HEARD of... holy crap!!!!!!! They damn well better give your the effing family rate. BS.

Love the ballet photos...:O)

Noemi said...

HOLY CRAP! you have all the right to be bitchy! That insurance is a load of crap! I think you can take Mia to a Pediatrician to get the basic blood work and evaluation and if the Ped deems it necesary that do the IA doctor.

Tatum is a cutie!

Tasha said...

I hear ya on the insurance crapola. I can't even get family members on my insurance from work. Almost (okay 99%) makes me want to quit and look elsewhere.

Good to know that someone else is in the same boat. Misery loves company.

Headmeister said...

Bitch away, sister. I know you've already posted a follow-up to this post but I'm commenting anyway...lol.

With my job, they'll give me the 12 weeks no problem. Unpaid, of course. So in order to get SOME kind of pay, I ahve to go through the STATE UNEMPLOYMENT. Yep. And with that, you only get 6 weeks at half pay. Whatever other time I want to take will be all on my dime.

Oh, BTW - did I mention that this is only for people who give birth?

Know what I get for adopting? 12 weeks off - but completely unpaid.

Therefore, I will only be taking about 6 weeks off. That's it. I can only do what I can do...

Shannon said...

My first attempt didn't take, but I wanted to post that I loved your pictures and stories about Tatum. She is such a rough and tumble cutie! I hadn't thought about the post-adoption medical. SCARY expensive...

Sam said...

We didn't do the IA clinic and have never regretted it! Our family doctor (we don't do pediatricians) told us if Kieren had something serious, she would refer us to IA and let the insurance pay! Love my doctor!!!

I feel your pain on the insurance. Andy's work is doing the same thing to us! AND Kieren's speech therapy will no longer be covered (bastards!). It bites royally!!!!!

~ Alison & Mali ~ said...

I have similar insurance at work. We public service workers always get the big 'perks' (NOT). I don't have Mali on my insurance. I couldn't afford it. I don't mind sharing what I did for her (insurance wise), but I don't feel comfy posting it for all to see. Then again, maybe I told u in GA (?) Can't remember.

I took 12 weeks unpaid. I had about 4 weeks worth of sick time & they made me deplete it all while out on family leave. That was ok - but when I went back to work, I had ZERO sick days . . which was not good. My annual salary was about $15,000+ lower that year (due to the leave). & then I had the daycare tab on top of it. Ouch. (but she's worth it). Somehow we managed.

I'm not sure you need a post adoption evaluation unless you have serious concerns. We did bloodwork through Mali's PED & it was cheap.