Saturday, June 4, 2011

Insurance - Finally!

Yesterday I got the call that my daughter's insurance will be approved! I can't tell you how relieved I am about this. I will tell you why it's taken so long in the hope that no one else goes through what I did...

Back in Sept. 2010 when I was investigating the feasibility of affording two children, I called my insurance group, Kaiser of Northern California, and asked about it. I was told that my child would "ride" on my plan for the first 30 days starting from the day of adoption and then I could get her a policy.

Days before leaving for China, a self-employed daycare mom told me that this wasn't true and she was charged for her sons birth and expenses. I quickly called Kaiser and they said, "Oh, you have an individual plan, not a family plan. You must buy her your plan for the first 30 days."

I was floored! My plan is the bare minimum and doesn't even exist any more. I'm "grandfathered" in now. So I decided to apply for a different plan when I got back from China. After our first week home, I looked at the application and nearly fainted. It wanted taxes and/or profit and loss statements since I'm self-employed. A few weeks later, when I finally had time to fill out such a long form, I attached my 2009 taxes and phoned them to tell them I was sending it in. Next snag - sorry, you have to send in the 2010 taxes. Sorry, my foot, the US government isn't even getting those until near Oct. when the extension is due. My adoption meant I put a lot of book keeping on hold. Of course, then they wanted three months worth profit and loss statements and proof. I told them that if I had this much book keeping done, I'd have it all done and the taxes done and I got off the phone and flipped out. I decided that I'd rather pay the $2500 yearly deductable for a different plan than take time away from my daughter right now and go through all the book keeping, etc...

After more issues, I finally got the application and it as 24 pages long! I did it, because I didn't have a choice, my 63 days from adoption, which is called a "qualifying event" was just about up and if it was up, I'd not be able to apply until next Feb. which is my child's birth month. No way on earth can I go that long without healthcare for my special girl, not to mention the threat of accidents and illness and trips to the ER.

I got the paperwork ready; it came to 29 pages with the adoption proof, and went to the local office store to fax it. It's over a dollar a page to send a fax!!! I had no idea and wasn't about to spend $50 just to send in this application. I realized I had friends with home offices and one kindly faxed it for me.

Over a week later, I get a call...
Your application is denied because you didn't include the child's SSN. What? Yep. It's required by Kaiser. I did plan to get her a SSN, but I was waiting until after the readoption so I could put her final name on it. I broke down. I cried. I spoke to managers, etc... and they wouldn't budge. Oh, cost of readoption: $900! Not happening until the end of the year when I get ready to do 2011 taxes.

I had no choice. I called the insurance person back and asked her to hold the file and I was on my way to the SSN office then and there to get this number, along with my daughter and three daycare children so I could leave the rest with my assistant in ratio. Insert here that had Kaiser said, in the beginning when I first enquired as to what I'd need, and/or if it'd been on any of the instructions/waivers/info garbage they send, I would have automatically applied for it at the time of the adoption at the Consulate in Guangzhou.

Get the SSN office, explain to the very nice, professional woman, what is going on and she breaks it to me - they don't issue the number, the government does, and it takes about 2 weeks to receive the card. Honestly, because she was kind, I didn't lose it. Then she said I can return to the office in a week and see if it's been processed and they can tell me what it is, but it won't be given out over the phone.

I went back, kids in tow, and they did have it and I got it and the insurance lady accepted it and my daughter will get coverage, but it won't kick in until July 1!

There is one blessing in all of this: I got extra time with my daughter before doing medical stuff, to talk about going to the doctor, practice, and build trust. She is truly terrified. Any time we go to a strange building, even the SSN office, she asks if she's getting an injection by pointing to the backs of her hands, where she had her IVs during her last surgery, and wimpering. When we practice and get to the injection part, we practic with her being brave, my way, then her way, being scared. The first time she wanted to do this, I didn't know what she'd do, but she imitated exactly what she did at the Medical Office in China when she got the TB test, by clutching her arms to her chest, arching, kicking and crying (imitating crying). Whatever happens, I've got no problem advocating for her, so if it's more than she can tolerate, I'll ask for options and demand some I already know I can get for her.


Karen said...

K- This is wrong on so many levels.
Insurance should not cost so much!! We are "covered" by Scott's employment, and we STILL pay out $350 a month! That's money we could use.

Second, Kaiser should have accepted the adoption papers, and you should have been sent a notice from the US government "US Citizenship status" stating that she is now a US citizen. They dont LIKE going by that, because the adoption papers do not look "official" But that should have been all that's required.

Also, you do not have to do the readoption in order to get her SS#. BUT you WILL have to have her SS# before you file any taxes that include her as your dependent, otherwise the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT will not recognize her as a dependent, (even though the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is the department that initiated it to begin with...INSANE).

Getting her SS will be a challenge in and of itself. You will need to go there, armed with the SS information that you print from online, from their own website

BUt even that is difficult, because it all depends completely on the competence of the person behind the counter, and how much attention they paid in their initial training about International Adoption. The SS person will most likely tell you that you have to have a birth certificate from the US to get a SS# for her. And to do that, it entails getting her readopted in California, but you REALLY do not need that...(per their own website!!)

We eventually ended up using HS to readopt her, and yes it was costs were around $900. You can do it yourself, by simply admitting to the court, the correct documentations and using your original homestudy, but again, that also depends on the judge and if (s)/he is familiar with anything that is out of the norm. Otherwise, you will have to hire HS again to do ANOTHER HS(they will most likely use the exact same one, but change the title from "Home Study" to "Adoption Study" or something like that. That will be the ONLY retyping they will need to do, but will still charge you a fairly big fee, and then they have knowledge of the forms that need to be submitted, and for that there's a fee. And then YOU have to go to court to submit it all YOURSELF, and you get to be in line with all the mothers toting along their toddlers, who are filing for child support. And even after all that, it took me 3 hours to get to the front of the line, only for the person at the counter to argue with me that I needed the form that stated she was not an American Indian. She said I had to get the from from HS and then get to the end of the line ...AGAIN. She would not listen to the fact that my dd could NOT be American Indian, because she is Chinese and adopted IN China. I ended up talking to HS on the cell, and having the HS rep talk to a supervisor at the courthouse...WHAT A MESS!!!!!!!
There really should be a much easier way to streamline this stuff. Im in forums now, which are TRYING to streamline it, but for the most part, it's a huge uphill battle...and unfortunately, it is fought by a few very large agencies which will lose their readoption fees if streamlining gets pushed through the system....very VERY sad, on all fronts.

karen said...

~didnt read that you got her SS already, before posting this. Hopefully this info will be good for whoever reads your blog. Save the link, to pass it on if someone needs it. Good to see you got the SS without too much fuss.
If you want to include her to go to China with you, you WILL need a birth cert to get her passport, and the easiest way to get her birth cert is to readopt in Ca, unfortunately. I fought it off as long as I could, but when I realized we also needed her birth cert to go to school, I folded, and did the readopt. Next, because I didnt have her birth cert, they had to assign her SS with her Chinese first and last name, so the next and last part of this for me is to put her American first and last name on her SS card by doing a name change, and now that we have the birth cert, I can do that with the SS office.

China Dreams said...

Glad you got it-I know what a huge relief this must be.


Stef said...

You can definitely do the readopt in CA yourself. There are lots of places online that will walk you through it. You only pay court filing fees, don't spend that $900! You have enough other expenses to deal with!