Stories of the Uninsured - Hilary Brant

This article is more than 12 years old.

About a year and a half ago I left a job I'd had for twenty years. I went to the financial aid officer at my health center, who handled my application for Commonwealth Care electronically. I got free care, and everything was great for a year.

Then I re-applied, as required. A few weeks later I received a disenrollment notice in the mail, saying that I was ineligible for Commonwealth Care because my wife could cover me through her job. Actually, she can't afford to, because then we'd be living on about $400 a month. Included with the disenrollment notice were two forms—an Exception Form and an Appeal Form. Nothing on the Exception Form seemed to apply to us, so I sent in the Appeal.

Well, our appeal was denied. I called Commonwealth Care Customer Service and they said I should have sent in the Exception Form.

That's when the real nightmare started. I sent the Exception Form and heard nothing. Then I sent it again.

Still nothing. I called Customer Service several times. Over and over I was told, "You have to wait for mail from the Connector." When I asked to speak to the
Connector, I was told it had no phone or fax number. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, my request was denied.

Finally I sent the Connector a certified letter pleading for a response. No reply.

My problem would never have been solved if it weren't for Representative Byron Rushing's office. His Director of Constituent Services advised me to call Health Care for All, and even called ahead for me. At Health Care for All, Kate Bicego looked up my Connector file and told me that—surprise!—I was eligible for a $40/month plan.

The upshot is, I was without any health insurance for four months, during which time I spent $200-$300 that the Connector will never refund to me, all because I sent the wrong piece of paper to a government agency that won't even answer a certified letter, let alone the telephone.

Hilary Brant, Boston

This program aired on August 4, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.