silentk: (pomegranate)
[personal profile] silentk
as i've been following the healthcare debate in the states, it reminded me of a lot of what i came up against there. a recent report on public television devoted a whole section on the issue of pre-existing conditions.

now, i live with multiple health problems (i know, that's putting it lightly,) and after viewing the program, i was left wondering how i had avoided getting into trouble with my health insurers about my pre-existing conditions.

it appears at first glance that I played "the health insurance game" successfully -- my fear of not having health insurance after my diagnoses started accumulating at age 14 spurred me to make absolutely sure that AT NO TIME was i ever uninsured in the past 16 years.

then i realized the actual impact of the sacrifices and calculated choices i was forced to make to achieve this goal.

while i was working, i didn't apply for and turned down jobs that didn't offer health insurance. this automatically meant that working for small employers and starting my own business were never options for me, even though they were the work environments that meshed best with both my skillset and my health problems.

i always avoided leaving a job without securing another position beforehand. in the event i wasn't able to make this kind of transition, i ALWAYS paid for extended COBRA health insurance coverage, which is very, very expensive, and one of the reasons i graduated from the university early -- between $500 monthly premiums, and another $400-600 in prescriptions, i couldn't handle another semester of tuition on top of that.

granted, in the past four years, my worries about having medical insurance decreased after I got married. while i've been unemployed, i've had to rely exclusively on my husband's health insurance, which still prompts worries about what would happen if my his employment situation suddenly changed.

and even though i've managed to keep continual coverage in place, i've spent countless hours on the phone and writing letters, battling with my providers over coverage of procedures, treatment, medications, and tests, only to have them lose paperwork, neglect to follow up on calls, and need to start things all over again. instead of concentrating on keeping myself healthy, i have to concentrate on keeping my coverage in place.

and now, watching this latest report on how health insurance excludes people with pre-existing conditions fuels another round of health care worries for me. i will always be obsessed with getting, having and keeping my health insurance: in one way or another, i will always be playing the health insurance game.

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silentk

June 2010

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