Alyssa B

You never know.  It’s impossible to look into the future and foresee accidents or sickness.  For me, I only had strep throat.  One moment I was in the doctor’s office getting a prescription for a sore throat and fever; the next I was in the hospital being told I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Even though I have been blessed to be in remission since December of 2013, I still had to go through years of chemotherapy and treatments, which was not cheap. A huge factor of my treatment was medical insurance. When most people think of insurance, it might not have a great connotation.  But if not for my family’s insurance, we would be in debt.  As I think about what we would have after years of treatments without insurance, I’ve come to the conclusion we would not have much.  It would have been a very rough path trying to stumble our way through cancer without financial security.  Because of my journey, I value insurance because it not only helps ease the stress and anxiety of figuring out how to pay for medicine and procedures, but also gives a sense of comfort and security from knowing you are covered.

Insurance is a blessing when you’re in the hospital.  When I was going through treatment, there was a period of time where I was at the hospital once a week.  Sometimes I would stay in my hospital bed for weeks at a time. Every seven days, I was getting chemo, having a plethora of tests done, and being prescribed countless medicines. Even when I was just walking around, there were machines and tools more expensive than my car.  As an observant thirteen-year-old, I worried about how my parents would afford such a rigorous treatment, thinking I never wanted them to go into debt because of my illness.  Never once doubting I would survive, I instead focused my obsessive efforts on saving money.  Knowing even though we had insurance, and we were still in a financial tough-spot, I became content with what I already had and learned that some things I felt that I had needed were just passing wants.  Knowing my parents had medical insurance and weren’t falling into a black hole of debt soothed my anxieties of being overcome with it.  Over the years, I have become better at having a healthy modesty about spending money. In a way, having insurance also helped me to become wiser with money.  Not only did it ease my financial worries, but also gave my family a sense of security.

Having insurance comes with a great feeling of peace and security. Over the course of my long treatment, my family and I weren’t sure if I would stay in remission because, being over the age of twelve, I was considered a high risk patient. When I was in the thick of my sickness, not keeping down food and always tired, it was important to keep a positive attitude and keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. It was relieving to know that if I did slip out of remission, we wouldn’t have to come up with more money or be scrambling for somewhere to go.  There were many days when my father would talk to our insurance company on the phone, straightening out all of the confusing details of my treatment plan.  Every person my father talked to that was affiliated with our insurance company was kind and sympathetic. Instead of just moving on with their business, they took the time to have kindness towards my family and see things from our point of view.  They might not have thought that made a difference, but it felt nice to know that our insurance company actually cared about my family and not just how to make money.

Before I got sick, I never really cared or thought about insurance.  I knew it was there, but there was never a huge need for it.   At the time when I needed it the most, there were a million things rushing through my parent’s heads.  It was a comfort to know that we had insurance to cover things  we would have never been able to handle on our own.  Today, I respect and value insurance companies because they’re in the business of security.  They can’t protect us from accidents that, inevitably will happen, but they are there to help when they do.  I value insurance because it helped me get through the most trying time of my life.

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