Emily Fo

Insurance is important to many people for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes insurance is a way to feel protected. My 90 year old grandpa tells me people have it ‘just in case’ they need it, even though they hope they will never have to use it.  Others have it, use it and it’s a comfort for them to know it’s there. I’m only 17 years old, but even now I feel insurance is important to me. Medical insurance is a beautiful thing to have. I already know a lot about the different insurance policies that are available and I know what type is best for me. I learned this because I have Lupus.

Every day thousands of people are diagnosed with some type of life threatening disease. I am one of those people. In the eighth grade, after a year of not feeling well, doctor’s visits and tests, I was officially diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue and cells. Lupus affects people in different ways, and although I have this disease, I am healthy now, while on medication. But I am aware that at any point in time my symptoms could return. The cause is unknown and in my case was triggered by something nameless. My symptoms came out of nowhere. There is no cure, but I feel as though it’s on the horizon because of ongoing research.  Clinical trials and new medications are being created, and general awareness has increased as more people are diagnosed. It felt good to finally know what was wrong with me, but it felt even better to know my insurance coverage took care of my tests, specialist visits and medications. Actually, as good as it felt for me, it felt even better for my mom. She is the primary cardholder and the one who stressed about my illness even more than I did. You see, my mom is employed in a school district. She has certain medical insurance that covers all my medical needs.  She’s had it for years.

Actually, there was a time last year that my mom’s medical coverage changed. Because of a rate increase, her district was no longer able to provide the specific plan they previously offered. Her Human Resources department researched assorted plans and decided to make this change. A change that affected my ability to see the specialist I had grown to know and love; the specialist who along with my mom helped me through a really rough time. My diagnosis came at a crucial point in my life, transitioning into high school and just coming to understand who I was. I came to really rely on my Rheumatologist visits. He knew my personal likes and dislikes, he was familiar with my medical condition, what worked, what didn’t, and knew of my medical struggles throughout the years. He was easy to talk to and was supportive. Since my Rheumatologist helped me, healed me, and made me whole again, I felt a special connection, a bond that formed between us. I became worried and afraid if I was forced to switch doctors that my quality of care wouldn’t be the same. After all I went through physically, now I was emotionally terrified I would have to find a new doctor because although I could still see my specialist, he was now out of network. I felt the time I invested in my doctor was the same amount of time he invested in me. We had a partnership – a partnership in my well being. As it turned out, I was able see my Rheumatologist sporadically throughout this past year, and he worked with us to have my tests completed at my Pediatrician’s office instead of his facility. My worries dissolved as I realized what was happening.

At the same time, my mom spoke to her Human Resources department about the possibility of switching back to the original medical plan for the next year. Fortunately they were feeling the effects of the switch as well and mom was told they would try to offer a variety of choices the next year. A year passed and sure enough, the original plan was offered once again! I have a dream where those living with Lupus will be healed. My dream is to help find a cure. My drive and determination comes from within. Since my diagnosis came at that crucial time in my life, I dream of being there for those who are dealing with similar issues. I can feel their pain even though I can’t see it because I understand. Dreams are hopes for the future. I dream of a future without Lupus.  Until such time, I am blessed to be insured. Having medical insurance means I never have to worry about my medical care or my physical and emotional well-being. Insurance is important to me. It provides me with the security and peace of mind so I can live my life to the fullest knowing I’m protected.

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