There are times when I just… can’t watch the news or be on Facebook. My anxiety zooms up through the roof every single time there’s a threat to the Affordable Care Act, because… my husband has cancer and will need treatment for the rest of his life, however long that is.
I can’t bear the thought of losing him. It still terrifies me, and I think it will until that horrible day comes. I still wake up at night and listen to him breathe and cry silently, heart pounding as I think of never hearing it again. Of not feeling him there next to me in the bed.
If insurance companies are allowed to refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions… well… that will be that. No more treatment for his cancer.
I remember the bad old days when a pre-existing condition could get you refused coverage. Every time my dad’s company changed health insurance providers, we went through it all over again, because of my migraines. The new provider would guarantee coverage for the company’s employees, no lapse in benefits… unless someone had a pre-existing condition. My mom would spend HOURS on the phone, working her way up the phone tree, all but begging them to not deny me coverage. She would go through the manual of benefits the insurance company would give employees, reading through the fine print with a magnifying glass, looking for loopholes and arguing with the provider about contradicting their own policies, until she’d finally wear them down into saying, “Okay, fine, Mrs. Toast, we’ll cover your daughter BUT… we won’t cover anything to do with her migraines for six months.”
Every. Single. Time.
This meant six months of not being able to renew a prescription for my migraine meds, because if the doctor authorized a refill or wrote a new prescription for my migraines, the clock would roll back and we’d have to wait SIX MORE MONTHS before the provider would cover me for my migraines. They’d cover me for everything else… but not my migraines.
Imagine that. Imagine having crippling debilitating migraines for SIX MONTHS before you could see your doctor for them. I was in a school bus accident when I was 14 and suffered a major head injury and the migraines I had after that accident were… horrible. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t FUNCTION. I would sit and bang my head into the wall by my bed, because that felt better than the pain in my head. I wouldn’t sleep for six or seven days in a row, until I’d finally just pass out from exhaustion. It was terrible. All the testing I had to go through, just so they could be sure I didn’t have something like a broken piece of skull pressing in on my brain, or a brain tumor, or brain cancer, or SOMETHING to explain the pain. And then my dad’s company changed health insurance providers, and my parents started the struggle to get me covered roller coaster. Imagine having to go six months every other year or so without medication for your migraines, migraines so bad you throw up, and all you can do is curl up in a ball on your bed, with the lights out and a heating pad on your head. And you can’t go see your doctor or get medication for it, you can’t even go to the ER, because it will set your coverage back ANOTHER SIX MONTHS.
There were people who couldn’t get covered AT ALL, because of a pre-existing heart condition, or cancer, or recurrent sinus infections, or you name it. It was HORRIBLE.
And they want us to go back to that? WHY???
I… I don’t want to lose the Husbandly One. What are we going to do if we can’t afford health insurance?
I… can’t even think about this.