Acting Parent

Yeah, I'm the acting parent right now. Why? Because my mom has turned into an irrational, unreasonable human being.

Tell me if I'm wrong here. She doesn't carry health insurance for herself or my little sister. She previously didn't carry car insurance (that changed, because I set it up and am paying for it). She felt neither were necessary. Does anyone else believe that health insurance (not to mention car insurance) absolutely, definitely is necessary?!

She is over 50. She argues that she hasn't needed a doctor in the past 10 years. But as she gets older, the risk increases. She has knee problems. She's had problems with her weight. My grandmother and I both have hypothyroidism. There's a likelihood she has it too. She claims she's "very healthy." But how would she know that, not having been to the doctor in 10 years? She also claims that there's a "homeopathic remedy for everything." I asked her, what's the homeopathic remedy if you break your leg?

Her only income is my dad's spousal support because she hasn't been able to find a job. So she's low-income. I looked into insurance plans and found that she could apply for low-cost Medi-Cal for my sister. She doesn't even want to consider it. She doesn't like the idea of "going into the system."

This is driving me crazy because I know that if anything happens to her or my sister, M and I will be responsible financially. She has always come to us. She doesn't have anyone else. Yet she insists that that won't happen. As if all the other times never happened?!

M thinks we should get insurance for them. But as I'm unemployed, it would be him paying $300 per month insurance for my mother and sister. The thought of that makes me so angry that I want to shake her. Especially since that number could be reduced by $60 if my mom signed my sister up for Medi-Cal.

She won't listen to reason. I'm baffled. Her stubbornness and irrationality have gotten much worse from when I was younger. Maybe that's just her reaction to my pushing her. She and I have not gotten along for many years now. Well, I have not gotten along with her. She tries to be the nicest person alive, but I have so much resentment built up, I get angry just hearing her voice, seeing her face. For years, I've been supporting her in one way or another. And since I quit working full-time, that responsibility has passed to my boyfriend. That makes me wonder why he even stays with me. Not only am I debt-laden, I have her as baggage too?!

How do you make someone go to the doctor? How do you make someone do what's best for them? Are there others out there who agree with her, that health insurance is not necessary?

What should I do here?


linty said...

Whoa there girlie, this has a lot more to do than just health insurance!

You say that you have not gotten along with your mother for years, yet you feel the need to take care of her. Is she deserving of you making this sacrifice for her?

If not, then let and let live.

I have been the acting parent to my parents for a long but reached a point several years ago that caring about someone who does not care about themselves is a losing battle. I still care for my parents, but no longer go out of my way for them since they have made it clear that they never went out of the way for me.


(Unfortunately, I am not given the option on your comment form to use my name and url)

Sunflowers said...

She was a good mom, growing up. Very supportive of me, very loving. But then my parents got divorced, she couldn't get a job, and I became the only person she knew with money. She's estranged from her family. So it's really just... me.

I hate having that burden, and I've made her very, very aware of that. I yell at her, I'm never nice to her (at least not verbally. I sure am nice financially :p). I suppose I feel a measure of guilt about that, like maybe if I would've been more supportive when this all started she could've recovered.

But even if she wasn't deserving, what about my little sister? It's not her fault that any of this is happening. By helping my mom, I'm also helping her, so... yeah. It's a tough situation.

j. said...

Is there any way for *you* to sign your sister up for medi-Cal? If it were just your mom, I'd say try and support her (vaguely, healthfully) from a distance, but cut off the cash.

With a sister in the mix, though, it's a bit murkier. You don't have to answer, but- is there any chance of/ improvement with a change in custody, mother to father?

I admit, on my budget car insurance comes fourth (after rent, food, and toilet paper) and health insurance a heck of a lot farther down than that. I also don't have a kid, and medi-cal (or the program in my state) could take care of that if I did.

Kinda wonder if there's something else going on with your mom....

Sunflowers said...

It has to be a parent or guardian who fills out the form, from what I understand. Also, there are supporting documents that would need to be attached that I can't get from anyone but her.

There shouldn't be a custody change because my sister's father (who is not my father) is a useless idiot. He provides no help financially. Nor is he supportive emotionally for either of them.

My mom is a good mom. But she's convinced herself that health insurance isn't something she or my sis need. Maybe that comes from having hardly any money and the budget being really tight. The Medi-Cal problem is part pride, part paranoia, I think. She doesn't want to think of herself as poor enough to need help from the govt. And she also thinks being "in the system" as a low-income person will somehow negatively affect her down the line.

j. said...

In that case, I guess the best you can do is make sure your mom has the medi-Cal, free or discount clinic, and county hospital information and hope for the best. Pushing will just make both of you angrier, and probably more stubborn. Good luck.

Sunflowers said...

Thanks. :) And yeah, I guess I'll just print out the info and bring it to her. Maybe she'll read over it and come to her senses.

Anonymous said...

Hm... Well, I don't have health insurance. I will next month because I'm able to go back on my mom's insurance thanks to Obamacare. But I'm 23 years old and know that the emergency room is covered for me because I'm a full-time student. If I was in my 50s, it'd be a different story!

I understand your concern is based on the fact that 1) your sister shouldn't be penalized just because your mom is kinda wacky and 2) you will have to pick up the tab if something happens and your mom is unable to pay. Does your mom realize that that is your motivation? That you will be penalized by her choices if something terrible happens? Because if she does know and she still chooses to go without insurance, I say let it go. She doesn't care about how her actions are affecting other people, so why should you (or your boyfriend) pick up the tab for her? I know the situation is complicated by the fact that your younger sister is also without care, but I cannot stand people who are that selfish. (In fact, your mom reminds me a lot of my grandmother, who I'm writing a post about right now! ARGH!)

Sunflowers said...

@Red: My mom knows its my motivation, but she insists that she won't have us pick up the tab if anything happens. And I'm sure she wants to believe that, but I know better. She has no credit cards. She has no other person to fall back on. So it will be us if something happens. She doesn't want to admit that to herself. She's in denial about the situation she's in.

It's not quite like your grandma - my mom has no debt (other than the debt she owes me), she isn't going out and buying anything nice for herself. She just doesn't have the resources to do more than get by.

It's easy to say "let it go", but if you found out your parent or sibling had a disease or injury, and if you didn't pay for treatment, they would die... I think you wouldn't let it go. Obviously, that's an extreme scenario, but it's still possible. The simple fact is if something happens to them health-wise, M and I will pay. And having health insurance is potentially the difference between thousands of dollars and hundreds or tens.

Grace. said...

I can't imagine having this problem with one's parents. But I pick up insurance costs for some of my five kids because they just don't get how important auto insurance or health insurance is--that was always the first expense they let go when their budgest get tight. The worrisome part is health care for your sister--not the big stuff, which will be handled for free at an ER, but dental care, and adolescent maladies that require routine care, not to mention birth control.

savings said...

That's a tough situation, but if I were you, I'd let your mother make her own mistakes. It's absolutely unfair for your boyfriend to pay for her insurance!! I wish there was a way for your sister to get coverage, but unfortunately, that sounds like unless you go the private route, it's not going to happen. And what happens if your sister DOES need medical care? Does your mom expect you to pay for that too!? It sounds like you need to let your mom be and worry about yourself.

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