radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
Stupid delay in medical plan initiation. All this time I couldn't figure out why they hadn't cashed my cheque, and I guess in fact they had tried to cash it during the half-day last week when my account was $0.40 low of the total and my bank bounced the cheque. Which -- I'm sure I used to have overdraft protection -- but probably not since the crash, right?

So -- my fault for not being paranoid enough about maintaining the balance.

I thought it had been ages since I posted them the cheque, but if I count back it's only been three and a half weeks. These were just incredibly dense weeks. They took up more space in memory than the weeks before them, creating a temporal-optical illusion.

I got a call from an unknown area code and assumed it was a scam/phone company (same thing) -- but when I looked it up it was Montreal, which isn't in my mind at least a scam hub, so I listened to the message. Swore a bunch, called them back. It's more or less sorted. I have to mail another cheque within a week and pay a $25 fee. It's stupid but not impossible.

Taints my love of Montreal a little, though. O bagels. O white stone and giant eyeball modern art. Redeem me.

It was twenty years ago I went to Montreal and fell in love with it, and I haven't been back since. I thought I might move there that one year -- 2002 -- when I got the lot of back tax refunds -- but the Co-conspirator and I moved to Vancouver instead, as a compromise. Spent all my money on storage and moving. Spent all his money moving back a year later, and buying furniture we had to split up a few months later.

And that was okay, I guess. I started this journal there, in that tiny lemon-drop house. I bought wings. I wrote long lonely letters to people and wrote half of a novel in a cafe on Commercial Drive. Never finished.

And here I am here. Here. I am.

radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
I like my medical plan so far. Today it meant watching Son of Rambow (2007) and listening to a self-effacing (yet rugged) guy wearing the Spoiler Shirt introduce us to the Art of Film. I don't think anyone else in the class is over 30, or even has thought about what it might be like to be 30, one day, in the strange and distant caverns of the future. I saw one guy going in with the crowd and thought, "Oh hey, he's kind of old," but that was the prof.

B. lent me the textbook, which gladdens me because 1. Savings and 2. It seems not to be very good.

As health coverage I rate Rambow high. It has strong thematic commonalities with Frank (2014) -- don't sell out your art for popularity -- and Sideways (2004) -- art as reparation for life's failures. I think I find this film the most successful. Unlike everyone, I didn't like Sideways. I did like Frank, though I thought that Frank was not quite the thing the movie itself advocated -- that is, it was not an uncompromising personal vision.

Rambow's very aware of itself as a constructed artifact, as a movie -- lots of self-aware visuals and some of that "full circle" plotting that ususally sets my teeth on edge -- but I think it mostly works. I may have teared up. And overflowed slightly. Not more than three times.

I'm already thinking of bailing on ModPo -- The content is fantastic, but I don't think I'll have the commitment to keep up with the assignments on top of everything that's actually happening in real life / for credit. I don't think I like the format of an online/video course very much. That is -- I think it's a brilliant way to bring the course to thousands more people than could take it in person. But as I am, in fact, taking a course in person -- and also attending a poetry group in person -- I may just watch the videos.

radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
I'm on the movie medical plan.

People think if you live in Canada you have free medical care, which is sort of true. I mean -- it's true in some pretty spectacular ways, like I've been in hospital for surgery twice and paid not one obsolete penny for anything except the TV. It's also a system that every year is quietly whittled away at, so that -- for example -- in BC, covered eye exams have gone from yearly, to every two years, to only for those under 18 and over 65. (I just discovered that in checking the site.)

I have benefited a great deal from this system over my lifetime, and taken it for granted in many many ways. Yet this system (at least as it operates in BC, since medical coverage is provincial, not federal) is not designed for people like me in two significant ways.

1. It is not designed for people whose income fluctuates from year to year, since your payment is based on your previous year's tax return.

2. It is not designed for transgendered people, as hormones for transition/maintenance are not eligible for coverage.

Technically MSP (the Medical Services Plan) doesn't cover any medications; that's covered by "Fair Pharmacare." And because you know what ideology is, you know that the only time anything has to be named "Fair" is when it is not fair.

I had coverage under my old job, but that ended when I left; I had coverage at school, but that ended when I graduated, Without coverage, my T costs about $225 a month. (Note: this is unusually expensive because I'm using topical T right now for a variety of reasons. Injectable T is about 1/3 the price, or was last time I used it.)

I'm not saying that this is a fair or an unfair price, or that it's a lot of money or a little money. It is just money I don't have or expect to have any time soon. It is just a price I cannot afford for a thing I need.

Fortunately, I thought to check whether I could opt in to the medical plan at UVic if I were taking only one course -- and I can. The course plus fees and bus pass (another advantage) is about $700, and the medical plus dental and some eye care (my glasses are a ruin) is about $300. That's still cheaper than paying for the T -- plus I get a bus pass and a film course.

A film course is what I'm taking -- Intro to Film Analysis. It seemed in keeping with the theme of the summer: volunteering at the indie theatre, going to the free movies in the park, using my free passes to buy friends. Furthermore, a friend of mine is doing her MA in film studies, so I'm also just sort of copying her. (I copy her often. She has good ideas. The Hermitage -- the Beautiful Shed? She used to rent it before she got married.)

So I'm on the movie medical plan. I get partial medical coverage (I still have to pay a portion of the T price), and I get to watch a free movie every week. I don't precisely have the money for the course at the moment -- I'll have to pay late and incur a small interest charge. (I checked to see if there was an installment play for undergrads like there is for graduate students, but I couldn't find one.)

But even with all of this extra expense -- including advancing myself the money for the medical coverage on my credit card just to get it paid as soon as possible (because I'm almost out of T) -- still cheaper.

It's that classic bind, right? Are you or aren't you worthy of assistance? Are you Working Poor or Unworthy Poor? (Currently Working, though once and for a long while Unworthy.) Are your medical needs too weird to count as real medical needs? (Yes.) Are there enough of you to make a fuss? (Not yet.)

If you have some money, or can scrape it together somehow -- like me -- you can have the top-up to get the things you need. If you don't have money, you can't have what you need -- or you have to pay extra, in the guise of fines and fees.

I believe they call that adding insult to injury.



(Re: Point #1 - of course one could argue that I should have anticipated the rise in the cost of my monthly fees, or at least put some money aside for such eventualities, and that is true. So maybe I mean that the system is not designed for people with a damaged sense of futurity.)

(Re: Point #2 - this is of course only the relevant way, in terms of this post, that the system is not designed for trans people, many of whom never transition. Whoo boy are there some other ways.)


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