Oh my ever-loving shitballs, enough is enough. Obama, at this point I almost don't care what you do, how you do it, or how many people you need to kill in order to get it done. Just give us some universal health care options before I go out of my freaking mind. This was my day today. And by "today," really I mean "the last three days."
One. In which Amazing Cheastypants, being once more employed by the University of Texas, realizes that she is once again eligible for real-live, honest-to-God health care benefits, including dental (oh joy!) and vision (oh, bliss!).
Two. In which Amazing Cheastypants realizes that nobody knows how this transition is supposed to take place. She calls the office called "Insurance Office" and asks. "Oh, I don't know how to get the insurance going," says a very nice woman who really was trying to be helpful. "But what I can do is refund your money for the [unbelievably shitty] student health care coverage you'd purchased to cover you through the summer." Sweet! At least one part of this job is easy. "So what do I do to make that happen," I ask. "Is there an on-line form?" Oh, heavenly peals of laughter! No, of course not. No. What I had to do was submit two written letters IN PERSON, one from me, and one from my department stating that I was an employee in good standing and therefore eligible for benefits. So I called around, found the appropriate person to get the letter from the department, wrote one myself, and trotted over this morning to get 'er done. Excellent! Now I just have to wait for mysterious bureaucratic wheels to crank, and at some point in the next 6 months I should get a refund, but nobody knows whether it'll be credited to my credit card or issued as a check. And if it's issued as a check, who knows whether it'll be mailed to my home, or my mailbox on campus? Only The Shadow knows...
Three. In which Amazing Cheastypants decided to commit hari kari in a very public fashion, as clearly the fates are conspiring against her. After flailing about uselessly on-line and on the phone, I still didn't know where to go to get my insurance kicked in again, so I resorted to calling my old insurance provider where finally somebody knew that I was supposed to go to HR. No, not the office called "Insurance Office," interestingly enough. HR. Whatever, fine. Why the two aren't just part of the same office, God only knows. And why the left hand knoweth not what the right hand does... well, that's one of the great mysteries of life, I suppose. I am but a speck in a mysterious universe, and so on. So I walk into HR with the printed out forms I had to fill out - because they couldn't just reactivate my old account WHICH THEY STILL HAVE ON FILE. No. I had to do all the paperwork again, and they're starting a NEW file for me, not to be confused with the OLD file on me. But whatever. At this point I'm feeling pretty good. I have penetrated the unpenetrable, discerned the undiscernable. I have the right forms, I am in the right office, I AM THE CHAMPION!!
Four. In which Amazing Cheastypants figures out that she is NOT the champion, and in fact, will never be a champion. "Oh, I'm sorry," says the lady at HR. "Your appointment isn't for four and a half months, therefore you are not eligible for health benefits." Oh, no no no no no. "Wait, I don't understand," I say. "I have a letter right here in my hand from my department saying that I am eligible. In the past when I have been a TA, I have been eligible. TAing is a benefits-eligible position. What am I missing?" "Well, it's the four and a half months thing, you see..." she begins to explain, at which point all I'm hearing is "wa wa wa wa wa wa," like Charlie Brown's teacher. I interrupt. "Please." I say. "I have a TAship now. I will have a TAship in the fall. I will have a TAship in the spring. When I have TAed in the past I've been covered throughout the summer even though I wasn't working at all. Now, why am I not eligible when I AM WORKING IN A BENEFITS-ELIGIBLE POSITION?" I waved the letter from my department around my head rather dramatically, just for good measure. She hemmed and hawed for a bit. "Well, maybe you could have your department code you for eligibility and then we could do it?" GREAT! I ask her for explicit instructions as to how to do that. "Oh, don't worry," she says, "they do stuff like that all the time. They'll know exactly how to do it."
Five. In which, naturally, my department does not know how to do what she wanted them to do. "Code you?" asks my department. "She wants us to code you? What does that mean?"
Six. In which, despite my absolute best efforts to make sure that I have the best insurance options available to me, the best insurance to which I AM ENTITLED as an employee of the University of Texas, I somehow at the end of the day find myself completely uninsured.
UPDATE, June 6. Oh crap. June 6th is somebody's birthday and I can't for the life of me remember who. Oh, well, moving right along.
Seven. In which the University wins, and I have to buy back that student insurance. Red tape is not to be messed with.