Yay, so guess who is sick? This girl! I'm totally not pleased with this new development, but it's true...stuffy nose, congestion, sore throat and achy feeling all over. I guess it's a good thing I'm working from home, but still....I'm 9 months pregnant...must I really have some kind of cold, too?
Anyway, I was thinking and thinking about what I wanted to discuss today in my post. I do have something on my mind, but I'm afraid it's somewhat political. I try to steer away from the politics, but it involves something I've battled my entire life and something that, well, I just don't think is fair. Insurance. Both health and life. Recently, I've had to deal with this yet again. And I hate it.
As you all know, I was born with a congenital heart defect that was discovered when I was three months old. It was repaired with surgery at four months old, and I've been monitored pretty closely my whole life. I also was the lucky recipient of other genetic medical conditions (thanks, family!), so I take medication and go to the doctor more often than I like.
My Mom's side of the family is Slovakian, and my Grandpa George was a huge proponent of getting us all signed up for life insurance through the National Slovak Society. Everyone, but me unfortunately. They tried to sign me up for the insurance, but because of my health conditions, I was rejected for coverage. It wasn't until I was in high school that I was able to qualify for the minimum policy of $3,000.
I was fortunate that I had health insurance coverage through my father's work throughout my childhood and into law school until I turned 24. I'm not sure how we would have paid for my yearly cardiologist visits and tests had we not had that coverage. I have to admit, I took this for granted until I graduated from law school in 2006 and went onto my first job at a small firm. I had a brief period of time where I did not have health insurance coverage, and being that I was working in a small firm that lacked the ability to have a group policy for the entire office, I was stuck trying to negotiate getting an individual policy. With a pre-existing condition. Well, actually several of them. That was hands down one of the more stressful experiences I've been through. I got rejected for health insurance coverage five times. Five. All because of my heart, my asthma and a few other conditions. I was told I was uninsurable. At the same time, there was another lawyer in my office who was applying for insurance. He was in his mid-fifties and he was a rather large guy, a smoker and not what you would consider in shape. I, on the other hand, am not a smoker, was well within my healthy weight class and worked out at least five times a week. However, he had no pre-existing conditions and was automatically qualified. I went through weeks of arguments with the insurance company only to be told that I should apply for emergency health insurance coverage, the premiums which would be almost $400 a month. At that point, my employer was questioning whether he would be able to pay for my coverage. I certainly couldn't afford that on my own. After some pushing on his part and my persistent questioning of why, with my good state of health otherwise would disqualify me from insurance, they did reluctantly qualify me with a higher premium than anyone else in the office.
Flash forward to 2010 when I was added to T's work group health insurance policy. We also wanted to get life insurance for me so we submitted the application during open enrollment. Almost immediately we received a letter from the company saying that they needed five years of copies of my medical records, all of them, and even that wouldn't guarantee me coverage. In fact, even if I sent the paperwork in (I would pay the cost for copying, of course), it was likely I wouldn't qualify, according to the representative at T's work. So I was denied life insurance coverage. We tried again in 2011, and wouldn't you know? Just a few weeks ago we got the exact same letter. So now we're facing that same decision...should I attempt to get medical records from all of my multiple doctors or should we just say screw it? Is it worth it?
So tell me why this is fair. Because I have the unfortunate luck of being born with certain health conditions and have chosen to address these through medical care, I am uninsurable? My life is not insurable? If I didn't have the good luck that my husband's work has a group policy that cannot discriminate and reject me for health insurance because of my health conditions, I would be forced to pay outrageous premiums just to receive medical care for conditions over which I have no control. Something isn't right there. I don't care what political leanings you may or may not have, everyone has to know someone in their life that has dealt with the same or similar situation. And speaking from my own personal experience, it sucks. Just saying.
So I'll get off my political soap box for the day. It's my blog, and I'll vent if I want to...right?
We'll be back tomorrow with a less controversial post!