17 Rachel B

Insurance is a word that can bring both comfort to individuals not actively thinking about why it is necessary, and trepidation for the people who actually need to use it. If you are in a situation which requires insurance, you are most likely in dire straights. This can be from medical bills, accidents, business deals gone awry, or any other combination of unfortunate circumstances. For me, insurance is what keeps my family from accruing tremendous debts that could never be paid off from medical bills.

My family has had tumultuous times with health problems throughout the years. My Dad has two brain lesions, and a pituitary adenoma, which causes a plethora of issues. I have three siblings. My brother, David, has autism, and other neurological disorders. My little sister, Lisa, recently had her 4th open-heart surgery. Living with siblings who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses is challenging. Our medical bills are enormous; we average 7 medical appointments weekly.

2016 found me facing my own health crisis and it changed my life. I woke up, in severe pain, unable to move. A barrage of doctors and tests ensued. It was devastating on my 18th birthday to hear I had two ruptured discs and degenerative disc disease in my spine, as well as Osteopenia. These conditions are exceptionally rare at my age, and no one knows how to help me. The constant pain has made even the smallest tasks difficult. I am a musician and performing is my passion. This has limited many activities; however, it will not ruin my life or limit my options.  While my friends are out enjoying life, I typically have to stay home because I am in massive pain, taking physical therapy, or getting a spinal injection to help curb my pain.

Months have passed with no definitive answers on what caused this. It sometimes becomes frustrating and disheartening. This is my senior year, the last year I have before I go off to school and finally become an independent adult. I should be having fun and getting ready for college, but that just hasn’t been an option for me. The anger and sadness fuels me to push myself even harder when I have a particularly difficult physical therapy session. My Dad served honorably in the United States Marine Corps, and he told me about a motto of the Marines: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I find myself thinking of that motto a great deal lately. Every day that I push through the pain of my medical issues, the stronger it has made me. My Mom has taught me the power of positive thinking and how it affects change in your life. She is a pillar of stability and morality.  Her strength astounds and inspires me daily. I refuse to be defeated, just like my parents.

In addition to worrying about mine and my families health, our medical bills limit funding for college, and not being able to work has certainly not helped my financial need. Our health insurance deductible alone is $10,000, not including all of the co-pays and fees associated with the medical care all of us need. This past summer I was forced to forgo working to pursue treatment options. Having this experience with my health has opened my eyes to the world of medical insurance. I never realized just how much went into processing claims, authorization, and all of the little things that make up this massive business.

To say that insurance has helped with the bills would be an understatement, but, unfortunately, an affordable insurance plan is something of a fantasy. Yes, insurance covers a vast bulk of costs, but all of the fees that it does not cover adds up to an astronomical amount. Physical therapy is one aspect of health insurance that is really a problem. I have to go to physical therapy at least once every week to strengthen the muscles in my back so that my spine does not wear out any faster than it already has. I really should be going a couple of times a week, but my insurance plan only covers a set amount of visits annually. That has not helped my back at all, and typically, the facility offering the therapy that you need wants a huge fee upfront just for starting a new session with them.

However, without insurance my family would no doubt be bankrupt or be in even more debt than we already are. As many problems that come with it, health insurance is a necessity. It is often a thankless job, but the hundreds of thousands of people who work in this industry deal with these claims and cases everyday. I could complain about all of the daily obstacles that come with my family’s health challenges, but I really am thankful for the security that insurance provides. Thank you for providing useful and helpful information on insurance for families that desperately need a helping hand.

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