Health Insurance from the “Genetic Pre-Existing Condition” Perspective (Part II)

…Continued from previous post

My husband and I were in a rut. Neither of us were happy at our jobs, and neither of us felt like we had jobs that could turn into careers that would make us happy. After many discussions, my husband decided he wanted to go back to school for gunsmithing. So, we decided to move to Colorado. I quit my job and moved to Colorado first with the hopes of finding a job before our house sold, mostly so we weren’t both unemployed at the same time. I still had the same criteria I always had when looking for work: I needed something that offered health insurance. That has always been my number one criteria when job searching, above pay, compatibility with the company or other employees, or any other perks. It was especially important now because my husband would not be looking for full-time work when he got to Colorado since he would be in school nearly full-time.

I was so fortunate to find a great job shortly after my term at my old job was up, and the job does offer health insurance. Although it is more expensive than what we were used to, it is far better than nothing. However, this plan had a six month waiting period for pre-existing conditions. Now that makes no sense to me. Here’s my logic: my insurance company won’t cover my health care costs for the next six months, so I am not going to go to the doctor unless I am really, really sick. I am also not going to be able to afford to keep up on my prescriptions or regular health maintenance, so in six months, I will likely need far more care and I’ll likely incur more costs to the insurance company than I would have if I had just been covered right away. In the meantime, I will be hoping like heck that I don’t get too sick… I can deal with some level of misery for six months. How bad could it possibly be?

Even now that the insurance has kicked in, I find myself questioning whether or not I really need to go to the doctor. I realize that’s the goal of the new health insurance kick we’re on today: make people think twice before going to the doctor by moving more of the cost directly to the individual. Uh huh, a good theory. Except it also works on those of us who have always needed health care, and who will continue to need it, and this isn’t a good thing. Again, it comes down to cutting out things that really should be done in order to keep me healthy in the long-term.

I currently have a raging sinus infection. I know this because I have a facial headache (between and above the eyes, mostly) every single day, from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep. I am also able to blow some nasty stuff out of my nose that could rival the average person’s typical cold or sinus infection symptoms. I am waiting until the absolute last minute — probably until I start vomiting from the pain in my head — to get it looked at because I want to put off the cost of the appointment and the prescriptions as long as I can. In what world, you might be asking, does this make any sense?? I’ll tell you — in a world where those of us dealing with pre-existing conditions have so many health care costs that it gets in the way of other things, including, on occasion, paying rent or buying groceries.

Here’s the real kicker though: I still want to start my own business. Actually, both my husband and I really want to have our own businesses eventually. In a perfect world, we would live on a farm or ranch, raise some animals, grow some food, and each do what truly makes us happy. In this case, we each have business ideas we want to pursue. However, we are definitely stuck because we won’t both be able to follow through on those ideas or dreams, at least not full-time. If we are both running a small business, I will not be able to obtain health insurance — at least not under the current system.

I’m not claiming to have all the answers, or any answers, really. No matter what we do, there will always be people who disagree. There will always be the healthy people, or the wealthy people, who either can afford to pay outrageous healthcare costs, or who don’t have to right now. I say right now specifically because no one ever really knows if or when they may have major medical issues come up. The people who really need insurance right now are the people who can’t get it, and that just ends up costing us all more in the long run.

It ends up costing us more partially because some of those people are on government-run health insurance programs like Medicare or Medicaid, but partly because there are people like me out there. People who don’t get the care they need when they need it because they can’t afford to, and who then end up costing everyone more when they finally get the care because they can’t wait any longer. By that point, it takes so much more to make the person better than it would have if they would have just gotten care right away. The world we live in doesn’t always understand that, and there are so many people who are unwilling to remain open to the struggles and realities of others that we, as a society, end up hurting ourselves more than we are helping.

About Jamie Schwoerer

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