In Her Words
The Politics of Health Care: A Personal Story
John McCain better rethink his insurance proposal
Editor’s Note: The following is one Betty’s opinion.
BettyConfidential.com welcomes all opinions and doesn’t endorse any
particular candidate or political party.
Apparently John McCain thinks a $5,000 tax credit for an entire family should cover health insurance. What?! That might cover a band-aid and a mole removal.
As a self-employed couple, my husband and I paid over $1,500 per month for our insurance coverage and that was with an astronomically high combined $4,500 deductible. I was with Nationwide and my husband was with Blue Shield. We tried to get an HMO plan which was more affordable but were denied. After paying into it for seventeen years I needed to use it for a pregnancy for the first time.
I had a natural conception at an advanced maternal age, which resulted in a “high risk” pregnancy. I had many different tests and doctors. I only went to doctors within my said network but even still my policy only covered 75%. Each time I had an ultrasound or blood test or saw a doctor I was billed separately by each department. In the end I was expected to make payments to over twenty different providers ranging from physicians, technicians, laboratories and facilities each and every month. 25 percent of over twenty different bills can add up to A LOT OF MONEY.
Between the 25 percent my insurance would not cover and common mistakes made by physicians and billing departments such as sending in the wrong code, billing as if I was not in network, or having a test or procedure that my insurance did not cover any percentage of whatsoever, THE BILL FOR MY DAUGHTER’S BIRTH ALONE WAS $60,000.
My daughter had complications after birth and incurred her own astonishing medical bills. This was in part because our Nationwide representative incorrectly told us that my daughter would be covered under my plan for the first month of her life. Instead, she was given her own plan for the first month that mirrored my own, starting from scratch with the same high deductible.
All of these bills were on top of our $1,500 health insurance coverage, continued out of pocket office visits for a family of three and the money we spent on medications, supplements, and alternative health care, none of which was covered on any of our health insurance plans, the sum of which cost us between $3,000 and $5,000 each month – much more than most people, let alone two self-employed artists, could afford. This left woefully little for life essentials such as food and affordable shelter, saying nothing of utilities, car insurance or payments, gas, clothes or other such necessities.
Two years later, we still have a mountain of unpaid medical bills. I considered wallpapering the house with them as a political statement, but I could never live in such a black and white world. Most of the clerical errors were never corrected. I spent nearly a year trying to rectify it all until I finally just gave up. My daily life maintenance became a higher priority than playing Simon Says with Sisyphus.
JD Smith is a writer/performer and an advocate for equality. She lives on the Southern California coast in a small and relatively peaceful beach community yet considers herself a New Yorker at heart. Ms. Smith has been married for nearly two decades and is the chief caregiver to a senior parent and a toddler child.