January 30, 2014

Health insurance and some rather inventive language

Just an amusing little anecdote today about the wonderful Maryland health system and our ward.

For those of you who may not know, two years ago Tom and I became the 'guardians' of his adult cousin, Eileen, when her mother died. Eileen has myriad developmental problems and some mental health issues as well. She is just able to live by herself in the house she grew up in with the help a home health aide. We have power of attorney. Tom handles all of her finances and I handle health issues and groceries. Eileen pretty much depends on us for everything.

Now between a massive screw-up (no other word for it) with her old employer and its new COBRA administrator and the massive screw-up (again, no other word for it) that is the Affordable Health Care Act in Maryland, Eileen is at this moment without insurance.

So far, you say, not very amusing. It's coming.

I said above 'no other word for it', but I am wrong. My dear husband has found many other words for it. I've never heard most of them. Not that I am particularly conversant with that particular speech form. I've never been a sailor. But I have seen a lot of movies. I've heard a lot of language in those movies. And I think those writers could up their vocabulary a notch or two by speaking to my husband about Healthcare in Maryland.

However, just when things looked pretty darned bleak and what we both needed was a really good laugh, we got a letter in the mail from the Maryland Department of Mental Health. It was a request to fill out a survey on our recent dealings with the agency. God bless their little pea-picking hearts, the letter was addressed to Eileen - the parent/guardian/caretaker of Penny Petersen. And we thought these agencies had no sense of humor. 

The letter did the trick. Tom laughed. I laughed. My daughter laughed. My sister laughed. True, this is not much of a story and perhaps you had to be there, but after a day spent at Social Services trying in vain to correct the whole insurance fiasco, that silly letter turned out to be a life saver.


  1. Sometimes, when a really good writer tells a story, they themselves don't see the moral they put into it. Your reaction to this letter - (which was MD Dept of Mental Health's accidental admission that they are totally screwed up) - reminded us that Departments are just gatherings of fallible humans, and that we can always laugh at human frailty, even when that weakness is giving us grief.

    Hope you found the right person in that burocracy who was able to see the problem and fix it.

  2. Doesn't that figure they'd even get the people mixed up? ha! Hope you got it all unraveled... GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

  3. I certainly hope it works out for you. Bureaucracy does seem to excel in making things harder for us.

    But now my curiousity is piqued. What were some of the words your husband used? I'm always looking to improve my vocabulary. :)

  4. Penny...

    Are you sure your weren't dealing with:
    Natural Resources?
    Assessments and Taxation?
    Comptroller of Maryland?
    Education Department?
    General Services?
    Labor, Licensing & regulation?
    The Lieutenant Governor?
    Public Defender,School,Service,Works?
    State Ethics, Education, Highway, House, Labor, Lottery, or Workers?
    Tourism, Transportation, Treasurer, or Veteran Affairs?
    Representatives or Senators?

    I think I forgot one.


  5. OMG, how typical of the system and it's red-tape baffoonery. The irony of it, is that is supposedly a serious org/Dept looking out for the best interests of the recipients.