Most people think that insurance is the important thing we have to have and is a pain when the time comes to use it. For my family, insurance is a blessing, especially health insurance.Even though we had health insurance from my father’s employer, it still wasn’t enough to keep healthcare costs down enough so that it was affordable for my family. That’s where masshealth finally came in to pick up the co-pays. My family is a single-parented family of four. A mother and three children, two of whom have Autism and other medical conditions that often co-occur with Autism. Like Epilepsy, and gastrointestinal issues, as well as sensory and behavioral issues.
When the epilepsy first surfaced in late-elementary school, my brother was prescribed medication to help control the seizures. At first it was only one medication and the regular co-pays weren’t to bad since it was only one medication. But as time went on, my brother needed more medication for behavior related issues and to fight off side effects of other medication, as well as frequent visits with the neurologist.And at the same time, my second brother started taking anti-seizure medication, and started seeing a neurologist.And as more prescriptions were written, the higher the cost to obtain them. Overall, there are about 6-8 different medications total not including the emergency rescue medication for more severe seizures. The small $25 co-pay was turning into hundreds of dollars in co-pays. It added up to almost $200-$350 in co-pays a month just for medication. It was a big financial burden on my family.
Then our local disability advocacy center referred us to a MassHealth program that would help pick up all the co-pays that we would encounter after the use of our other health insurance. MassHealth is a state-run health insurance program. We applied, and got approved a short time later thanks to the advocacy agency. Ever since then, MassHealth has been a lifesaver in my family, especially during the times where our visits to the neurologist were more frequent due to a spike in seizure activity, or when my other brother was at the gastroenterologist every month because of bad stomach issues that we couldn’t wrap our heads around for a long time until we discovered a new autism center three hours away. Our health insurance and MassHealth allowed us to go to the Autism Center, and thank god they did because we got some answers and solutions to my brothers stomach issues.
In addition to those periods of time like those, MassHealth covered a medical crisis that happened to my brother when one of his medications drained his sodium levels to a very low level. And he was dizzy and tired for days before, similar to symptoms of Mono, but blood work showed otherwise. So my brother and my mom spent two nights in the ICU in a hospital an hour away from our home since our local hospital wasn’t equipped to handle patients with sodium levels that low. And I also live in a rural area, so hospitals around my home aren’t always properly equipped to handle certain things, so often patients get transferred to an inner city hospital. There was no charge for the hospital stay or the lab visits and the doctors follow-ups
afterwards because of both health insurance companies working together. And not having the financial burden was a relief especially with the financial situation my family had at the time.
My family still has MassHealth in addition to my father’s health insurance policy today, and it still serves us well. It gives us financial security since our weekly and monthly income varies greatly due to my parents having to miss work to take my brothers to appointments and other specialists. Sometimes seeing one specialist takes a whole work/school day. Our circumstances vary by month and can get quite chaotic. And having Masshealth in addition to our other health insurance makes it so that we can maintain everything and not choose between medication and gas in the car. It takes so much weight off our shoulders and my brother’s MassHealth coverage will cover them for the rest of their lives due to their disabilities and medical conditions.
In Conclusion, health insurance is one of the most important things in my family’s life besides unconditional love and housing. If we didn’t have our extra health insurance, I don’t know where my family would be and how my brother’s would be health wise. I am grateful that insurance exists and continues to expand every single day therefore helping millions of people as a result. The impact insurance has on people is a powerful impact, and it is a wonderful gift.
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