Murphy was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 but, after four rounds of chemotherapy (covered by his insurance), it had gone into remission by 2004. He wasn’t in the clear quite though. Because his sleep apnea qualifies as a “pre-existing condition,” Murphy explained to the Journal-Constitution, he currently has no insurance.
It’s really sad that people can’t empathize with what chronically-ill people go through, or even take the time to imagine it. Recently while visiting family, A. got into a discussion about Obamacare with his relatives. Luckily for the family relations, I was taking a nap in the next room (which I sure was in no part due to the side effects of one of my maintenance medications. No, it’s probably just my personal weakness that makes me tired) and didn’t hear him trying to explain why I couldn’t, in the words of one of them, “buy the cheapest insurance.” He also had to attempt to explain the preexisting conditions deal to this person, who thought that oh, those weren’t really a big deal anymore.
I’m not sure what good my personal story is to people who are completely convinced of illness and health insurance facts they’ve never had to deal with, and certainly never bothered to investigate. When A. did describe my disease to them, they were full of suggestions. These, of course, were suggestions that I’ve heard from many good-intentioned people in the last ten years:
Diet! Exercise! Something-something alternative that is also magically cheap, I’m sure! Not that I’d know because I haven’t really read anything reliable about it, but I saw an ad in Reader’s Digest! You’re welcome!
Because it bears repeating from my previous paragraph, living with this disease for the past ten years not only means that I can’t possibly have researched any options apart from the current expensive and problematic meds I’ve been taking, again, for the past ten years. If only we’d had this conversation sooner! Bless you all! And also because this preexisting condition discrimination is hogwash, I’ll just go ahead and sign up for my husband’s insurance which explicitly states that it denies coverage for spouses’ preexisting conditions. But you know, hogwash.
I do think that it was good for me and for everyone that I was able to experience some ignorance of my own, in the form of sleep. In any case, I wouldn’t have been a help to my cause–more likely I would’ve lost my temper and said something rude. Despite my anger I don’t actually want to alienate family, and because A. stays far calmer than I do in discussions like these, I think he certainly achieved more thoughtfulness on their part than I would have.
For anyone who’d like to educate themselves about ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and living with IBD, they should definitely check out the resources at CCFA. In particular, I’ve been enjoying their webcasts, which can be found here:
The most recent one, Managing Costs of IBD, is a great eye-opener on some of the starting costs. For a good elaboration on what further costs there are to having a chronic illness, see Sandy’s entry at Access This!:
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go research COBRA rules.