With disability insurance restored, health-insurance pays for a wheel chair.

I’m happy.  Although these last few days have been unproductive, in a writing sense, several good things happened this week.

Yesterday, I cashed the check from my disability insurer.  Cigna has decided to honor my policy, after reviewing my functional capacity evaluation.

There was no explanation from them.  No correspondence.  Just a check, arriving in the mail, the night-before-last.  All the money they owed, since December.  (Here is my last post on this saga.)

Even with high-confidence in my case, I carried a low-grade anxiety into this new-year.  I guess that’s natural when no in-come matches my out-go.  Now, I can dismiss that emotion.

For some reason, I anticipated a letter explaining why they chose to make my life difficult.  But, nothing says, we’re sorry, like a check.  I suppose I could call them, to confirm that this will now be honored for the life of the policy.  I don’t want another, bad, surprise from them, next year, or next month.

I also got fitted for my wheel-chair.  Health-insurance will pay for most of it.  The features on my model will be determined by another type of functional evaluation.  Insurance requires justifications for costs.

I had a couple of choices, between manufacturers.  One is Chinese-built for American overlords.  The other is American-made for Swedish overlords.  I chose the Swedish model.  It was recommended as more reliable, with more apparent-thought behind the engineering.

The Chinese-American model left motors, and other moving parts, exposed.  The Swedish-American model has those things largely hidden inside of casings.  Both chairs share the capability of changing postures and heights.  For instance, the seat can rise, so that I can work at my kitchen counter.

The Swedish-seat lifts directly from the base, on a metal rod.  The Chinese-seat lifts with a scissors-jack.

One looked like it was designed by experienced engineers.  The other resembled a lab-project by engineering students.

Some of the capabilities of the chair might be non-functional, depending on what insurance is willing to pay.  A fully-featured electric-chair could cost something on the order of $22,000.  A less-abled model could be as low as $16,000.  I should have new mobility, in roughly a month.

My motivation for it has more to-do with leaving the house, than living within one.  In-home, I still can cope.  But, leaving the house intimidates me now, on most days.  I don’t have confidence that my strength will hold up for these trips.  Mostly, I shop for groceries, or stop at a coffee shop.

I’ll get around by bus.  Between buses, light-rail, and my chair, I can begin enjoying some public spaces again.  I’m anticipating the opportunity, just to visit a place like Mill Avenue, on a nice day.  Right now, I don’t do this anymore.  My life is mostly spent at home, with brief trips to break the day into logical pieces.

And, this past Monday, I met with a doctor I have never met, because social security is still making a decision on whether I am disabled, or not.  I didn’t choose this doctor.  I received a letter instructing me to see him, at 9:30 AM.

I offered them my functional capacity evaluation.  They declined.  Instead, they had me meet with a doctor, who interviewed me, while performing the most-cursory of physical-evaluations.  I think his task is to determine whether my story makes sense.

He has my diagnosis, and my doctors’ notes.  But, a lot has changed in the last year.

The doctor collects fees from SSI, to determine if my condition is truly disabling.  The entire visit took place in about a half-hour.  Although I could see the necessity for some type of verification, SSI’s procedures seemed lacking in credibility.

The low-point of the visit was when the doctor took apart his pen, and asked me to put it back together.  This was the ‘dexterity test’.  He told me to pretend I didn’t see him take it apart.

I wondered whether seeing the pen being broken-down helps my dexterity.  I have been taking pens apart since the second or third grade.  Visualizing, how a pen should be assembled, is more of a cognitive test.

But, I didn’t argue.  SSI needed the results before they can rule me disabled.  And, somehow, assembling a pen speaks to my ability to earn a living, or not, programming computers.  At least, the doctor seems to think so.

These events served to occupy some of my attention.  The better-part of this week, dictated by insurance.

Good thing, too.  I’m fighting my way through an inspiration-drought.  I blame some of this on my condition.  But, if I didn’t have these moments to anticipate, this week would have left me less to say.

2 comments on “With disability insurance restored, health-insurance pays for a wheel chair.

  1. BJ H says:

    i do wish you the best! cigna was my disability insurer until early 2013, when my employer terminated me after 10 yrs because of increased health issues and reduced performance in a safety-critical position due from a rare disorder. Soc Sec Disability approved my case on the first try. i just received cigna’s 4th rejection of my claim. next step is an attorney. so happy you were spared the long-term hassle. good luck!

    • Thaddeus Dombrowski says:

      I don’t envy you. The prospect of losing my job because I could no longer function, and my insurance with it, made it easier to justify the step of declaring for disability. I was scared by the prospect of getting laid off, and then trying to recover disability.

      Good luck. The fact that I declared, while still employed, made it easier to deal with Cigna. I don’t know if they are better or worse than the rest. But, it sucks to have to battle with them, when mere functioning is a challenge.

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