The next few blog posts are going to be about health insurance. It’s a hot topic right now and I felt a good time to share my experience. Here we go…
During treatment I experienced what I call cancer “pricks” and “perks”. I chose to see the silver lining while going through cancer treatment. It was either that or crawl under my covers in the fetal position which was certainly appealing some days, but mostly I chose the silver lining. I experienced perks in the form of people in general being nicer and going out of their way to be nice. I experienced pricks in the literal form of so many needles for blood work and treatment.
There were also pricks in the form of people, like the oncologist that I did not go back to who was impatient when my family asked her questions. But the biggest prick of all, the king of all pricks…drumroll please…the Insurance Companies! Insurance companies, you had this coming. It shouldn’t take a bill in congress to make you cover people for preexisting conditions, least of all children (I wrote a lot of this back in 2009 before people were covered for preexisting conditions. Sad that we’re currently in a position where it could go back to that).
People should be covered for preexisting conditions just because we’re all human and no one’s life is more precious than another’s. Prove me wrong & become an industry that’s about people, that you’re an industry actually about health CARE, and not your bottom line, because right now that’s pretty much what you’re all about. I’m sure you’ll still find a way to make money but it shouldn’t be at the expense of people’s lives.
I have a lot more to say on this subject in the blogs to come, but for now let’s start with some (sarcastic) comic relief. What you’re about to read is something I wrote shortly after finding out that I was “under” insured. Bottom line, my insurance company at the time didn’t cover chemotherapy.
INSURANCE REP: Good morning, “Rip-Off Insurance”, you claim it we’ll deny it, how can I help you?
JENN: Hi, I was just diagnosed with cancer and I need to schedule some tests. Can you tell me if they’re covered?
INSURANCE REP: I’d be happy to help you. What tests do you need?
JENN: I’ll be going for chemotherapy soon so I need to schedule a heart scan, a lung function test and a Pet/CT scan.
INSURANCE REP: Well we cover most of the testing that you described but not all of it, oh and by the way, we don’t cover chemotherapy.
JENN: So what you’re telling me is that the insurance that my husband and I work hard to pay for doesn’t cover the chemotherapy for my very treatable cancer?
INSURANCE REP: Yessiree bob! (Ok, to be fair she didn’t say that. She was apologetic about it but I think I’m allowed a little creative license here.)
We end the phone call and at this point despair begins to set in. At this point I still don’t know what stage the cancer is at. I need the PET/CT scan (which can cost thousands) to tell me that and a bone marrow biopsy, yet another test to fully diagnose where the cancer is in my body. I need the heart and lung function test so that during and after chemo they’ll be able to tell if the chemo has damaged my heart or lungs and now I have no idea how I’m going to pay for it. The emotions you’re dealing with are so strong. You know it’s not the person’s fault that you’re speaking to but you just want to yell at the people denying you and say “I have cancer! I have two small children that I want to live for! I need these tests to be able to move forward and to find out exactly what my treatment is going to be! Cancer doesn’t wait for you to approve me, cancer spreads, sign me up for the Goddamn tests!”
- Jenn GD (Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/JennGDonohue)
- For financial and emotional help, contact: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society http://www.lls.org/