(Some) Government Agencies Suck

We’re *this* close to having insurance for Cordy and Mira. Since Aaron lost his job, we knew it was a possibility we’d run out of insurance before he could find a new one. At first, we hoped that something would appear before the end of July – how naive we were. That whole plan to bring jobs to Ohio isn’t exactly working as quickly as we’d like.

At the end of July, we realized there was no immediate job offer coming, so we applied for state assistance for health insurance for the kids. The SCHIP program has helped so many people, and while I’ve always been a supporter, I never imagined we’d have to take advantage of it. With only our freelance income, we easily qualify for it. The paperwork was submitted, all documentation was submitted and approved, and everything should be in place for my two young daughters to have health insurance to protect them if anything would happen.

I said should be in place, because as of yet it isn’t. We still have one obstacle in our way:

Our case worker.

Now, I have never bought into the stereotype of the lazy government worker. Especially since my husband was just recently a government worker, and would have been fired quickly for poor customer service in his agency. I had the belief that people who worked in government jobs did so because of their desire to help others and make a difference.

Yeah, I know. You can really stop laughing now.

Our case worker has so far been slow and unable to keep his word. Everything was submitted and in order as of the beginning of August for their health insurance. There was some question as to if we might qualify for additional help, so he said he would be in touch with us either the next Monday, or if not then, the Monday morning after that for sure. (He was going on vacation after the first Monday.)

We waited but there was no call the first Monday. We knew it was a possibility, so we crossed our fingers and hoped no one got sick that week. The second Monday morning, there was no call. By late afternoon, Aaron called the agency, and was told they would give him the message that he called, and his case worker would respond within 24 hours.

Somehow I expected a call within 24 hours. But there was no call on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, nearly 2 days after Aaron called, the case worker called back, telling us he didn’t have a chance to do anything yet, but would have everything finalized by the next day. We were told he would call us back “tomorrow before 1pm.” (Thursday)

You can probably guess what happened next. There was no call on Thursday. Or Friday.

So yesterday Aaron called again first thing in the morning, and was again informed that his case worker would be back in touch within 24 hours. No call. He called again today, got the same message.

At this point, it’s been nearly a month since our children were approved for health insurance, but so far no confirmation has been made to get them enrolled.

I’m only glad this guy is dealing with Aaron and not me. I consider myself a patient person, but not where my children’s health is concerned. I’m feeling very mama bear right now, and I would likely have some choice words for him about doing what you say you will do and how damn hard is it to make a 5 minute phone call, asshole? This is about health coverage for kids!

When I worked as a student advisor, there were days when I was busy and had several phone messages waiting for me. If I wasn’t in the office the next day (I worked part-time) I’d stay the extra 5-10 minutes it took to make sure I got back to everyone, even if it was just to acknowledge their call and let them know I was looking into their question and when to expect a response.

I’d be more OK with this situation if there was a hold-up somewhere and he could take the time to let us know what the delay is. Instead, we’re left calling daily with no return call or information about when or if our girls will have health insurance. How can an agency that is dedicated to helping families in a time of need be so far off it’s goal? It seems that when it comes to Family Services in Ohio, customer service is dead.

The one upside to share with you is that Aaron had an interview last week that went very well. He was called back the next day (see? some places can call back!) and has a second interview tomorrow. If this goes well, he might be employed as early as mid-September, and insurance would be back in October. And then hopefully I can put this not-quite-nightmare, more-like-a-bad-dream of a summer behind me.

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Comments

  1. OMG. I can only imagine. Sounds like the agency worker has the “it’s not my job” disease. Shame on him. He shouldn’t be working in the public sector.

    Good luck to Aaron with the interview!

  2. Sounds like you have a worker from Alabama. I don’t like to generalize either but when my husband lost his job and insurance and I was 38 weeks pregnant, we had no choice but to go the medicaid office.

    The lady told me that she couldn’t help me in such a short length of time and I should consider having my baby at home.

    Not only did I flip out, I called her supervisor and her supervisor and on and on until I had told my story to anyone who would listen.

    Needless to say, I had to have a c-section b/c the baby wouldn’t “fit” through my heart shaped pelvic AND the cord was around his neck…now that’s not the woman who needs to be having a baby at home is it?

    I understand your frustration!

  3. I’m sorry about all that but I’ve gt my fingers SO crossed that Aaron’s second interview will work out!

  4. Anissa Mayhew says:

    We had a paperwork screw up about insurance and I got a notice that our coverage was gone. I nearly had a panic attack. Ok, who am I kidding, I DID have a panic attack. I’m feeling you on the mama bear thing, don’t mess with the kids!

  5. Fingers crossed for you! It also keeps them from making other symbols at that lousy worker.

  6. I’ve worked for enough government agencies as a contractor to know all too well how that stereotype got started in the first place. Ack. Unfortunately I found my best course when I actually HAD to have something was to sit in someone’s office and stare at them until they did it. Maybe he will feel our collective “auras” staring him down and get on the ball.

    Crossing my fingers for Aaron’s interview and that everyone stays healthy til the insurance is in place.

  7. I work with case workers through the Department of Social Services and assist my clients in receiving benefits. From the time we turn in their paperwork to the time they actually receive benefits is about 2 1/2 months. The case worker doesn’t start work on the paperwork until about a month after we turn in everything. It is really frustrating – especially when working with people who really need the benefits because they have to see a doctor for medical issues.

    Good luck to Aaron. I hope everything works out for you very soon!!

  8. Delurking to let you know I feel for you, and I hope everything works out. One thing that might be reassuring, once they get the paperwork done your “start date” for the health coverage should be from the date you applied. So if you do have to seek medical care (while it won’t pay for it at the time), I would tell them the situation and, if possible, have them hold off on billing until you get your coverage info.
    Jennifer

  9. That’s ridiculous! As if you aren’t going through enough, you get the worst caseworker in Ohio! It really bothers me when people are more concerned about the clock then they are about the people they are supposed to be providing a service to. I can only imagine how much you want to ring the dude’s neck!!!

    I think most insurance starts from the application or approval date so the girls should technically be covered. Good luck to Aaron on interview #2!!!

  10. call them back NOW and DEMAND you speak to a manager or supervisor … that is SHIT!!! i am sure they have no idea he is such a bad “call returner” or they would not put up with it … that is crap!

    Good luck with the job interview I will be praying for you!

  11. One more set of fingers crossed for you. I work in a pharmacy and get to deal with JFS more than I would like… if somebody does get sick in the meantime (knock on wood), keep all the paperwork for reimbursement.

  12. Ridiculous. The system needs a complete overhaul. Hang in there.

  13. I hate dealing with the government agency in the course of my job. So many more people are lazy and ineffective than are the few who actually do their job efficiently. There are times we wait for 4-6 months for payment for daycare services because the case worker doesn’t process our enrollment for for us to receive payment authorization. Annoying as all get out!
    Best of luck with the interview!

  14. Oh that sucks. I hope Aaron gets that job! I hate dealing with government agencies!

  15. I think the system in most states is lacking. It’s the same runaway here in GA and even when you do get someone to handle what you need they are often rude and disrespectful. I hope everything works out quickly because I know how it is not to have children covered by health insurance. It can be so stressful. Hang in there.

  16. If I were you, I would show up at the office in person.

    I am serious. Take the kids. Make sure they look adorable. And sad. And then tell him you are not leaving his office until he files the paperwork in front of you.

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