My Health Care Dilemma
I quit my job in March. Not something that is highly regarded or generally supported. I did it because, even though I have been brought up in a country that tells us hard work, daily grind, selling your soul in pursuit of the almighty dollar, is key to happiness, it hasn’t made me that way. I would rather get to the end of my days knowing I lived a full, compassionate, creative life with some additional struggles, than to spend the rest of my time behind a desk for the ease and convenience of it, just to wake up and do it again tomorrow. (Well, I should point out that my last job wasn’t easy. Nothing about working in a middle school is easy. But for the sake of this argument, you get what I’m trying to say, right?)
But I digress. This is not a post about work, per say.
Although, I think it important to mention that I work incredibly hard. Even to my detriment, I would argue. So, me quitting my job wasn’t an excuse to be lazy. Exactly the opposite. I simply want to work hard and put my energies into what I believe in and feel passionate about. That, for me, means following a creative path and working for myself, in order to support other artists, individuals, and young people in living creative, compassionate, sustainable lives.
Back to the point.
As my work end date was approaching, I took care of all of my routine health care visits. It’s an incredible thing to have health care. Something I took for granted while fully covered by my employer. I didn’t ever really go to the doctor. Yearly check up or teeth cleaning. Visit to get a new contact prescription. That was the extent of it. So when I knew I was finishing with my fully covered health benefits, I didn’t think too much of applying for my own health insurance plan.
It’s fair to say I was completely beyond shocked when I was denied.
Let me back up and say, I don’t mean to brag necessarily, but I am kind of exactly the type of person health care companies want to insure. This is to repeat that I rarely visit health care professionals, have no medical history (except for cutting off the top of my thumb several years back, but I don’t plan to repeat THAT ordeal ever again), I am (fairly) in shape, don’t smoke, have no illnesses requiring treatment or medications… I don’t even have allergies, for that matter.
I was denied for two reasons:
1. About a month before leaving my job I was given medication for a rash that was potentially caused by bed bugs. (No evidence was ever found in my apartment, but something had a field day on my skin for several weeks.) Disgusting? Absolutely. Cause for denial of preventative health care? I’ll let you be the judge of that one.
2. My routine women’s health exam came back with an ‘abnormal’ result. I got the news as I was in the middle of applying for health insurance, so I hadn’t known this would be an issue while still employed and covered by an insurance plan. I needed a follow-up test to determine what caused the abnormal reading. To rule out anything serious, to get the all-clear. A rather expensive follow-up test, I might add. But a fairly routine one, that women with health insurance get all the time. One that the health insurance company I had applied to, so that I could PAY them monthly to be insured, didn’t want to pay for. When I called the representative to discuss their denial, she simply told me I was “too risky.”
Let me pause right there and say, SERIOUSLY?!?!
A paid customer service employee, one whom I’m guessing – hoping – had to go through some kind of training, just told a slightly freaked out woman being denied health coverage that she was TOO RISKY?! Again. I’ll let you be the judge of just how well that situation was handled.
I’m not looking for pity here. I’m not even trying to make the case that I am in a position as unjust as so many in this country. I am lucky to have had insurance for as long as I did. To have had the opportunity to live as healthy as I have.
What I am arguing as completely unreasonable is the lack of humanity on the part of those who don’t support Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, specifically. If I can get on my soapbox here for just a minute, it seems to me, people are so quick to jump on a cause, throw themselves so fully into arguing for or against something, they fail to see that there are real people at the other end of their hard-line decision-making. Real people whose lives are affected by the decisions they make in the comfort of their health insurance-wielding offices.
The only health insurance I can actually get at this point, is Medicaid. It seems completely backwards that someone would rather have federal money pay for my health care, than to let me pay for it myself.
Planned Parenthood was the one place I found compassionate, respectful, helpful health care professionals who offered the services I needed at prices I could afford. Cutting their funding means cutting services to help keep women, future children, and their partners healthy and in control of their own bodies and lives. I’m not sure how anyone in their right mind could argue against that. I know, I’m glossing over (or actually, not even touching) the abortion issue. All I can say is, no one, NO ONE, has the right to tell me what or what not to do with and for my own body. This applies to all women, all the time. End of story. In my case, I’m trying to make sure I am healthy so that, when the time comes, I can have equally healthy children. Denying me health insurance now potentially affects not only me down the road, but my unborn children. And that seems totally unfair.
I’m always such an idealist. And I keep being completely unprepared for just how unfair this world is.
I’m not looking for a handout. I have always played by the rules, and applying for health insurance was no different. I was prepared to have to pay a larger amount than those in more financially stable situations – those in full time jobs that offer employer-supported health plans.
Come on people. We have to do better for each other.
In a just world, all women would have the right to decide how best to care for themselves, their bodies, their families. And they, we, would be able to do it without having to fight for it every step of the way.
Here’s my not-so-silent prayer (I don’t think I’ve EVER prayed before?!) that my lab results come back clear, I’m able to ‘qualify’ for health insurance, and above all else, people in places of power will find compassion – particularly for those they don’t understand or agree with.
We all deserve better.
Here’s to another day of creativity…