Haleigh M

I have never really paid much attention to insurance, up until now.  All I can ever remember is just going to the doctor or getting done what I needed done if I was sick, needed braces, or needed an x-ray or scan.  I never thought about the money part of it.  Now that I am getting older, I can see that rising health costs and insurance premiums is highly affecting everyone, especially my mom.

My mom has lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia.  She has a pacemaker, a stint in her iliac vein, and has had multiple surgeries on her ankle, knees, and back.  She is on Coumadin for life due to a pulmonary embolism, takes monthly infusion treatments for her lupus, and has severe chronic pain all over due to the lupus and fibromyalgia.  She takes multiple medications along with Vitamin D, Calcium, and Vitamin A.  She just recently started taking coconut oil as well.

With all that said, one can see that she has a great need for good health insurance.  With the rising cost of insurance and not to mention the rising cost of health care and prescriptions, she has an enormous amount of out of pocket expenses; however, I cannot imagine what her expenses would be if she didn’t have insurance.  Without insurance, she wouldn’t be able to afford the medical treatment she needs to keep her alive.

Until now, I guess I could say that I took advantage of having insurance because I never stopped to think that it saved my mom’s life.  I hear many people who say they don’t or can’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford it because they don’t have insurance.  I hate to think of where my mom would be right now if she hadn’t had health insurance.

Her first outrageous medical expense was when she had a pulmonary embolism.  We were on vacation in Colorado.  Not only were we out of state, but we also had no family near us that could help my mom.  The hospital bill alone was crazy.  That didn’t even include all the specialists, surgeons, and techs that had to work with her during this time.  On top of that, she was in the hospital for almost a week after several surgeries, so all the itemized billings that incurred during that time were extremely high.  Without insurance, my parents would have never been able to pay all the medical bills.  Even though insurance didn’t cover all the expenses, it did cover a lot.  Without insurance, I wonder what would have happened.

The next big medical expense for my mom was when the electrical part of her heart stopped working.  She was in ICU for almost a week before the local hospital decided to send her to Lubbock, TX.  She was in critical condition because her heart wasn’t functioning properly, and she needed heart specialists that were not available where we live.  Once she arrived in Lubbock, they took her in for heart surgery to determine what was needed.  They ended up having to put in a pacemaker.  All of these procedures and doctors were very costly.  Once again, insurance was a huge benefit for my parents at this time.

Since then, my mom has had to have her battery replaced in her pacemaker.  This sounds simple; however, it is not like just changing a battery in a toy!  The whole pacemaker has to be replaced.  Thank goodness the leads into her heart were still okay or that would have been additional time and money.  Everything to do with medicine seems to be way too expensive.  I don’t think you can put a price on a person’s life; however, the cost of health care and insurance keeps getting higher and higher.  At some point, I feel like we won’t even be able to afford health insurance any more.  Then what?!…

My mom has had to have other surgeries as well.  She broke her ankle and had to have two surgeries.  Then seven years later, they had to take the plate and eight pins out because she developed a cyst on one of the pins.  She also had ACL reconstruction on one of her knees and then her other knee scraped.  She fractured her back on two different occasions and had to have treatments for that.  All of these procedures required extensive medical support which insurance played a big part of.  Without it, would my mom have been able to afford to get medical treatment?  I am sure that she wouldn’t.

Now that I sit back and think about insurance and how it has been important to me, I can see that insurance is very important.  Having insurance has allowed my mom to get the medical attention that she has needed.  Without insurance, my family would be financially in trouble.  Even with insurance, I can see that my parents struggle with making payments, making copays, and paying off medical bills.  Insurance has definitely made finances more manageable for my family.

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