We are fine. Which is kind of bizarre for everything we’ve recently come through, and the madness our nation is going through now.
With the threat to Abby’s and Winter’s lives in the past, and a great deal of fortune, we are healthy and safe. We have been staying at home, keeping 6 feet from everyone. Visiting with friends by Facetime calls, sometimes visits on the porch while physically distant. This is especially important due to Winters’ diagnosis of chronic lung disease (extremely common in Preemies.)
I still have my job. Through the rounds of IBM layoffs my employment was maintained. Our insurance, though complicated with a transfer from one company to another the first of January 2020 is still intact, and covers nearly all the costs of the treatment Abby and Winter needed. I’m still enjoying the last 10 days of the generous 12 weeks of paid Parental Leave that IBM offers.
Winter’s treatments had a sticker cost above $750,000. Not to mention Abby’s lifesaving medical care also. (Falling across the new year and thus two deductible periods and two insurance providers.)
Winter’s care has been largely covered. Though it takes a non-trivial amount of time on the phone with UNC Health Care (Hospitals) and (Physicians) and (Labs) and Pharmacies (all of which have different billing departments) and Access One (3rd party medical bill financing company) and Fidelity (benefits manager for IBM) and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (before Jan 2020) and Aetna (after Jan 2020) and CVS (pharmacy benefit manager) and Social Security Administration and County Health and Human Services. It turns out premature birth is considered a disability that entitles a child to Medicaid coverage (as well it should!) and thus Medicaid becomes a secondary payer after the two commercial insurers.
We are very fortunate to have this coverage. We are very fortunate to have had the medical attention Abby and Winter needed and to not be impoverished by it. For me to still have a job despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 20%+ unemployment it has wrought (including layoffs at IBM). We are fortunate to not be affected by the current protests and riots and far more fortunate to not have been affected by the prevailing racism and injustice that touched off the recent protests and riots.
Our recent past was challenging, but our present is good. We are fine. We hope you are too.
If you want to take some concrete and positive action to reduce police-involved violence (and the risk to the police themselves as well) check out https://8cantwait.org/
P.S. if you’re a friend that doesn’t know the passwords for earlier posts with more personal information (and photos with faces!) about Abby and Winter’s story please get in touch and I can share the passwords with you.