Anna B

Insurance; noun. A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality. This definition accurately depicts its importance, but not necessarily the depth of insurance’s importance in family life. Of course, there are many different kinds of insurance, but while some merely save money, others can mean the difference between families falling apart or flourishing. Specifically, health insurance is something that has impacted many people in many ways, especially my own family. In 2002, when I was 2 years old and my mom was pregnant with my youngest brother, my father was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. If it wasn’t for our health insurance, our family would not be anything like it is today: flourishing.

In 2002, I had two siblings. We were all very young, and our family was just getting started. Having my dad diagnosed was like a gunshot. When he was first diagnosed, there were a lot of bills, a lot of drugs, and a lot of chemotherapy. One of the drugs used very often, Rituxan, was normally about eight thousand dollars per day. But with our incredible health insurance, my mom paid only fifteen dollars for the co-pay. In fact, someone from the oncology office approached my mom and asked if we knew just how amazing our insurance was. Having my dad gone for so long took a toll on our family. During all of this, my mom gave birth to my youngest brother. Because it was in the midst of my dad’s chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he wasn’t able to fully enjoy his new son’s first weeks. However, even though the cancer had an emotional toll, the financial toll was alleviated all because of our phenomenal insurance.

Six months later, after countless treatments of radiation, the cancer was gone–or at least that’s what we thought. In October of 2002, my family had a much needed respite from the stress and the worry of everything involved. It was a blessing having the head of the household back and with all of us, even though he definitely seemed different. Unfortunately, the respite didn’t last long. Ten months later, my dad’s symptoms returned. The cancer had apparently been growing during that time and was even worse than last time. By this time, I was almost 4 years old, and starting to realize that my dad was sick. One of my favorite things to do with my dad was color. When he was sick, I couldn’t color with him. That was hard for me, and was one of the ways I could understand the loss of his presence in our home. What I didn’t understand was that there were several times that my father almost died. Because of our life insurance, my mom didn’t have to worry about supporting our family if something happened, she just had to worry about taking care of the kids and helping dad through it. Obviously, life insurance became important several times.

But the one thing that neither me or my parents had to worry about was the expenses. This second round was much more rigorous, with more hospitalizations, many more drugs and medicines, surgeries, and a stem cell transplant. My dad obviously couldn’t go to work, so he had short-term disability insurance. This helped even more with expenses, such as the transplant. The stem cell transplant was a big step and a great risk. Besides being a big step and a risk it was also almost one hundred thousand dollars. But again, our mind-blowing insurance covered most of this great expense. This alone could have been the difference between our family going into a downward spiral or rising up and getting back on our feet.  And since we had this health insurance we only had to pay only two thousand dollars for this transplant. The transplant ended up being a success, however since my dad had a brand new immune system, the recovery time was hard. None of my siblings or I could go in and see him because of all of our germs. This meant that the only way I could color with him was over the phone, which I remember vividly. When he started fully recovering, my mom mentioned he would be able to go back to work soon, and I was immediately frustrated because he had just gotten back and I had barely gotten to color with him. He kept fighting and fighting and fighting until finally, in 2004, he won.

My dad has been cancer free for almost 13 years. My oldest brother graduated college and is now an actor. My second oldest brother is a junior in college and becoming an engineer. I am graduating high school in May, and going to the college of my choice to study marketing and psychology. My youngest brother is just starting high school and already flourishing. My dad is healthy and happy and loved. We owe all of this to his perseverance and our health insurance. Without the health insurance, college would be difficult, if even an option, for his kids. But now, since we had the protection of that insurance, I can choose my college. Our family is comfortable and thriving.

Insurance; noun. A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality. My dad’s cancer was a possible eventuality that became a reality. But because of insurance, our whole family was protected.

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