My wife and I are responsible, adult human beings – and have been for a long time.
So, when we got married in June 1978, one of the first things we did was take out a health insurance policy with one of America’s leading insurers. Since then we have had health insurance through our employers.
Joshua was born in 1984 and covered by our insurance. He now has an individual policy with one of America’s leading insurers. It’s no problem because he has had absolutely no health issues for his entire charmed life.
Sara was born in 1987 and covered by our insurance as well. When we attempted to secure individual health insurance coverage for her from some of America’s leading insurers, we were unsuccessful because she had made an unpardonable error during her 20th year of life – she got sick.
It was a blood clot – a massive clot that seemed to come out of nowhere and that settled in her left leg; it extended from her ankle to her abdomen. It was a very dangerous and scary condition that put her in the hospital for a week with half of that time being spent in ICU.
After much treatment and much prayer, the clot was eliminated; we were and are very grateful to the medical personnel and to the good Lord for her recovery.
Testing revealed that Sara has two genetic conditions about which we previously did not know: one that predisposes her to clot excessively and one that predisposes her not to break up clots. When the insurance companies say that she has a pre-existing condition, I’m tempted to give them a response that I remember from my high-school days: “Duh.”
Since we were unable to secure an individual health insurance policy for Sara, we kept her covered under the provisions of COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), for which privilege we paid one of America’s leading insurers – the one that had covered Sara for years under our group policy – the very reasonable amount of around $535 per month for 18 months.
Meanwhile, we did some research into what other options might be available; in the course of that research we were told by “experts” and “specialists” that (a) under no circumstances should we allow there to be a break in her coverage exceeding 60 days and (b) under no circumstances should we, unless she got a job that provided insurance, not finish out the entire 18 months of available coverage under COBRA.
We are responsible adult human beings. We did what we were supposed to do.
Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (the appropriate shorthand name for the health care reform law of 2010), our daughter can go on our group health insurance policy until she turns 26 a couple of years from now.
So perhaps you can understand – although sadly some of you will not – why I am not filled with warm fuzzy feelings when some of our leaders so glibly boast about their upcoming effort to repeal that act.
There is one more important chapter to this story. Sara’s COBRA eligibility expired at midnight on Dec. 1, 2010, and she could not go on our group policy until Jan. 1, 2011.
We contacted the leading insurer that had covered her under our group policy to ask if they might not be willing to provide her with an individual health insurance policy for just that one little month between the time that her COBRA coverage expired and the day that she could go on our insurance.
“No,” they very politely said, “we cannot.”
So our daughter, for the month between the day her COBRA eligibility expired and the day that she was able – under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act – to go on our group policy, was uninsured and was unable to secure health insurance coverage.
It all got me to thinking.
And mainly it got me to thinking about people who live every second of every day with the anxiety and uncertainty with which my family had to live for only 30 days.
It got me to thinking about those parents who cannot afford adequate health care or health insurance for their children. It got me to thinking about those people, who, unless the government makes it so, will never be able to get health insurance coverage because they committed the unpardonable sin of getting sick, even if they got sick like Sara did when she was covered and after she had been covered for a very long time. It got me to thinking about how blessed my family has been and how I want other families to be similarly blessed.
It got me to thinking about what’s in – or lacking from – the hearts of people who don’t think things like that – that people like that – are worth thinking about.
I am not a health care policy expert. I am under no illusion that the Affordable Health Act of 2010 as presently configured is perfect or that it should not be adjusted and improved.
But I do know this: Our beautiful daughter is benefiting from it.
So you’ll just have to forgive me for being grateful.
And you’ll just have to forgive me for not joining the throngs who cheer every time some congressman or congresswoman – all of whom, by the way, have the privilege of purchasing health insurance for themselves and their families regardless of their pre-existing conditions – utters the word “repeal.”
Curriculum editor with Smyth & Helwys Publishing in Macon, Georgia.