Gabriela E

Growing up and becoming more independent is an exciting time, but also a daunting and overwhelming time. It is a journey that comes with greater responsibility and awareness. As a 21-year old senior in college, I am finding myself thinking about the future the decisions and responsibilities that are inevitable following graduation.

As an occupational science, pre-occupational therapy student, I have been introduced to the world of health insurance. In my courses, we are being taught how to advocate for our future clients who may need therapy but cannot afford it. In each situation, insurance coverage plays a vital role in deciding if my future client will be able to receive therapy in order to improve their functioning in meaningful occupations. Insurance coverage decides if I will be able provide my services to help improve the daily life of my clients. When I reflect on personal experiences of people in my life, two stories stand out. One experience deals with loss of coverage, while the other shares how coverage was a support.

First, I have witnessed how loss of insurance can be detrimental during a traumatic life event. My family friend had been living with a brain aneurysm, but at the end of August, the aneurysm burst and he passed away in his sleep. Alex was 31-years old, and he left behind a two-year old son and a wife expecting their second child. While his wife was a stay at home mother, he worked and provided the health insurance for himself and his family. When he passed away, his family was left without health insurance.

Alex’s wife did not work and moved in with Alex’s parents while they figured out their next step. His wife was in the process of getting coverage through Alex’s mother when his mother was laid off. Now, Alex’s parents, wife, and children were without health insurance. With a baby on the way, the family decided their only option left was to apply for private insurance. The cost is expensive, but the family felt it was a sacrifice they had to make. While grieving the loss of a loved one, the added stress of trying to find coverage for health insurance has made the entire process that much more difficult.

Now, from a positive perspective, I have had a personal experience of a loved one where insurance acted as a liberator. This past spring, my grandmother fell and broke her pelvis. Prior to the fall, my grandmother was extremely independent and active. Her husband passed away over twenty years ago, and she has taken pride in her ability to sustain a good life in a country where English is her second language. After being in the hospital for a few days, she was moved to an acute rehabilitation center. My grandmother was incredibly unhappy, but was extremely motivated and determined in her physical and occupational therapy sessions each day. Her number one goal was to be able to walk independently. After her stay on the rehabilitation center, she was discharger to her home.

A nurse came three times a week, and physical and occupational therapy came twice a week. A three-day stay in the hospital, three-month stays in a rehabilitation center, and home health services were all covered by insurance. In a time where my grandmother was at her lowest and working every day to regain her independence, she did not have to worry if insurance was going to cover her care. She had the freedom to work on herself with the peace of mine knowing that she was going to receive the care that she needed. Through all her therapy, today my grandmother is walking and living an independent life.

These two stories illustrate how everyone has a unique experience with insurance. Insurance can be the deciding factor whether or not an individual will be relieved of the financially burdens that come with a tragedy. That is why insurance is important to me. I always want to make sure my family and loved ones have affordable insurance. Just knowing that they have the stability and safety of insurance coverage will be one less concern and we could focus on the actual issue.

Insurance can be a saving grace. Whether it is covering the cost of a necessary procedure, damages after a flood or in the event of the death of a loved one, insurance protects individuals from any financial loss from these unforeseen events. In conclusion, I will be on both sides of insurance. I will be advocating for myself and loved ones in the event of an emergency. I will be advocating for my clients that they receive the care they need. In a healthcare field, I will be working with clients who are recovering from an unforeseen event. It is important that I am knowledgeable and informed so that I know when I need to speak up. Insurance is vital to ensuring safety in today’s society, and it is incredibly important that I am aware of my situation so that I will be as prepared as possible for any unexpected life event that occurs.

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