My (now ex) husband and I, left our careers in Chicago to move to Santa Fe, NM so he could pursue his dream of opening an outdoor adventure company in 2003. We were able to keep and pay for our wonderful health insurance from our corporate jobs for 18 months. When we went to get healthcare, on our own, in NM...we were shocked. My ex who ran marathons, was a triathlete and was opening a company where he would lead people hiking in the mountains everyday was denied insurance. We couldn't figure out why an extremely healthy 41 year old couldn't get insurance. Turns out, a year before we moved, my ex had tweaked his back. It didn't improve. When he went to the doctor he was told he had slipped a disc in his back. The doctor said he could get surgery or he could try physical therapy, yoga/stretching, etc. Of course, my ex chose the later. His back improved and healed to the point that it didn't bother him. When we got to NM, since he hadn't had surgery to correct the slipped disc no insurance company would take him on. Even when he went to a doctor who said he was fine, because that was in his file, no insurance company wouldn't insure him. Luckily, NM as a state, had a high risk pool that if you wanted insurance you couldn't be denied insurance (this in no way it advocating for a return to high risk pools). Ironically, if we had stayed in Chicago he would not have been able to get insurance, because IL did not have such a pool. So he threw his name into the hat, and a random insurance company picked him. That's how it worked in NM. If you couldn't get insurance you were put into a pool, and companies randomly were assigned people. You did not have a choice. Whomever picked you was the only company you could buy insurance from. He was able to get insurance, but it merely catastrophic with minimal preventative care. The cost for his monthly insurance was more than the cost for a BC/BS policy for me and our two sons. We were paying $1200 a month for health insurance. Luckily for us, we had the financial means to support those premiums and were simply grateful he could get coverage. They informed us that if he had not back problems for a number of years (for some reason I think it was 7), then he would become eligible for insurance coverage outside of the high risk pool. Ever since that day, I vowed I would fight for pre-existing conditions to be covered, not matter what they were. If you had asked up if he had any pre-existing conditions, we would have said no. It never entered our heads that a healthy, active man who "lived a good life" (per Congressman Mo Brooks) would be denied insurance because of one visit in his medical file, that he chose to take the natural (non-surgical) route to heal. Pre-existing conditions can be things you don't expect, they create a black mark in your file which you may be unaware of, and they can follow you for years. When the ACA was passed, I cheered for not allowing insurance companies to charge more or exclude people based on pre-existing conditions. That is not at risk thanks to the heinous ACHA passed by the House yesterday. I will continue to resist and fight, the use of pre-existing conditions to discriminate and turning back the clock to high risk pools.
Feb 8, 2018
I, like many people, could not believe the number of Americans who supported Trump and his agenda, or the apathy of those who opposed him but failed to vote. I was encouraged by the special elections of November 2017 when progressives took seats historically held by conservatives. I recently started VotingPact as a way to get more people involved in local and state elections. By reaching into our own network, we can increase participation of those who may not normally vote in a midterm election, making your one vote, two. Check out my website and enlist a Plus 1 to make your one vote, two! https://www.votingpact.com