2009.10.09 10:04

A legal alien lost in American healthcare system

It start on August 22 2009, three days before I defended my dissertation. Because I wasn't registered for the fall semester at BU, I was no longer covered by Aetna chickering, the student healthcare plan that was paid by my department. I only found this out on the 28th, still in the excitement of completing, and as a tax-paying Massachusetts resident and a legal immigrant authorized to work in the US, I thought I should be able to get the benefit of COBRA or Masshealth. That was also what my department told me.

My new employer told me that my health insurance through them will be effective from October 1. So I wanted to find some way to be covered for the month of September.

I first called HR at BU then Aetna chickering to learn that I am not eligible for COBRA, because I had a student health insurance "paid by the department, which is my employer", but not an "employer sponsored health insurance".

I also asked Aetna chickering if there is any plan I can pay out of pocket and continue to be covered by them. They said no.

Then I started my search in Masshealth. Turns out, I am not eligible for Commonwealth care, because I am not a US citizen. More and more I look into this, I realized when the US government says "illegal immigrants" they really mean "any foreigners". I could not find any mention of "legal immigrants/aliens".

I started to lose hope about finding anything in the US. I called my parents in S. Korea to buy me a traveler's insurance for one month. A few days later, my mother called back and told me that she couldn't buy anything that is effective right away because I was already out of the country.

I looked back in Masshealth and found one option that covers immigrants, both illegal and legal. By this time I only had 3 weeks to go without insurance. Learning the process time of Masshealth is 2 weeks, I decided to go without insurance.

October came, and I finally selected my healthcare plan. Non of them impressed me and it just looked like having to select how to be restricted as I said earlier.

I have been waking up with migraine headaches for a while now. Today, I picked up my phone and called to make a first appointment with a primary care physician I found in my neighborhood, who I also had to check with all my healthcare options for coverage. (This idea that some company tells me which doctor I can go or not is totally absurd for me.)

I gave all my information and was about to make an appointment. Then the receptionist told me that they can't find my information in Blue Cross Blue Shield yet.

She didn't make an appointment for me. I have to wait until my card arrives and they can confirm that I am indeed in BCBS system.

I did not stop working for a single day. I was a research assistant at Boston University until Sep 25 Friday, and senior research fellow at Mass Eye and Ear from Sep 28 Monday. And I do not have access to healthcare for 50 days as of today.
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2009.09.07 15:14

World's End

Karl, Jamie and I enjoyed a nice afternoon walk at World's End yesterday. Then we had dinner at India Quality in Kenmore.

FYI, World's End is a small reservation in Hingham Massachusetts, not the end of the world.
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2009.09.07 15:00

What I've been up to...

Blogging has been slow while I was pushing to finish my dissertation and traveling around later.

June: I finished the first draft of my dissertation.

July: Held the last committee meeting, then went to California. Went camping in Doran beach, wine tasting in Sonoma county with Kahye and Erhan, then CIAP conference in Lake Tahoe. Also I had a chance to catch up with Kyujhin on my last day in California. It was nice little Daegu sciecne high/SNU EE/in the US reunion.

I flew from SF to Korea. Still working on my dissertation + lots of catching up with old friends, going back and forth between Daegu and Seoul.

August: On August 5th, my parents, brother and I all flew to Inchoen airport together. They went to Munich, and I came back to Boston for two days. Then I flew to Munich through Amsterdam to meet up with my family. We had a nice family vacation; highlight of it was the five concerts we attended at Salzburg Festival.

On my last day in Europe, I gave a talk at the Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna. For some reason, I wasn't too impressed by Vienna. I enjoyed Salzburg much better.

On 25th, I had my
"PhD final oral exam" - that is what dissertation defense is officially called in my department - and passed. Herin gave me these beautiful flowers.

On 27th, I moved to Harvard Sq. Cambridge. It was a very busy week.

September: I will submit the final version of the dissertation to the library, and start working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary as a postdoc.

I am planning to be better about blogging from the fall. We'll see how it goes. :)
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2008.12.22 13:25

Holiday tradition - Hallelujah from Handel's Messiah

I've been going to Handel and Haydn Society's Messiah performance every year since 2004 except this year. The schedule just didn't work out. Instead, I was listening to it at my office.

I used to go to church every Sunday till high school. We went to a small, rather quiet Presbyterian church (than most Korean churches), which had a small, humble and not-so-professional choir.

Maybe not every year, but they used to perform Hallelujah, translated into Korean and accompanied by piano, after rehearsing for weeks, for the Christmas service. I suddenly wanted to hear this song close to their modest performance, and found something similar online. Even though I am not religious now, it's emotional to listen to something that brings back holiday memories from childhood.

I warned you that my church choir was not so professional. ;) I actually love how they struggle so much at "King of Kings and Lord of Lords (왕의 왕, 또 주의 주)".
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2008.12.11 11:40

Eastern lifestyle

From 千字文: thousand character poem

索居閒處 沈默寂寥 求古尋論 散慮逍遙

삭거한처 침묵적료 구고심론 산려소요

한가롭게 살며 조용히 거처하고, 말 없는 가운데 고요히 지낸다.
옛것을 구하여 찾아 논하며, 잡된 생각을 흩어버리고 유유자적한다.

Another poem I remember from middle school Chinese class.
松下問童子 言師採藥去 只在此山中 雲深不知處
송하문동자 언사채약거 지재차산중 운심부지처



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