Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A blind spot

   I’m on a roll.  In my last post, I wrote about how hard it is to get a wheelchair.  This time, it’s glasses. 
    I wrote in my last post about learning that, with my publicly funded insurance, I can get one wheelchair, either manual or power, every 7 years (or is it 5?). Never mind that I’ve had my manual chair for about 20 years, and never mind that it’s critical I have a reliable, not-too-old power wheelchair.  I am eligible only for one or the other. 
   Last week, I learned  that the situation is even worse when it comes to eye glasses. 
   I suspected again when I went to my eye doctor a couple weeks ago after more than 2 years that the place is too high-end (too Claremont!) for me. Sure enough, I ended up with a co-pay for my exam – no, they don’t take Medi-Cal – and they don’t take my supplemental insurance, VSP (through HealthNet), for glasses. After taking the prescription, I went to a place that takes VSP and was told that VSP only covers 20% of the cost of lenses and frames.  And, no, the place doesn’t take Medi-Cal. 
   I was frustrated and alarmed and made further inquiries.  This is what I learned: even if I find a place that takes it, Medi-Cal only pays for an exam every 2 years.  And that’s it.  Medi-Cal doesn’t pay for glasses. 
   In what world does this make sense?  The question I have is why bother with the exam?  Why does Medi-Cal pay for an exam when it won’t pay to remedy a problem that is found? 
   Isn’t this a definition of cruelty? 
   As with the wheelchair, I am fortunate in that I am not completely reliant on this insurance.  What about people who are, and what about those who, God forbid, only have Medi-Cal?  Is seeing and reading really not that important?  Perhaps this is why many poor people don’t vote – they can’t see to read to get information about what’s going on. 

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