Isabel H

If my family didn’t have insurance, our lives could be ruined. Every kind of insurance is important to me.

In 1972, my grandfather needed bypass surgery. Because this was a new procedure back then, he had to wait eight months for the surgery. His health insurance would have paid for it but he died just two months before he could get the surgery. A family friend had the same surgery six months later. It was paid for with his health insurance. He wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise. He lived another 30 years after the surgery. The health insurance saved his life.

My grandfather died when my mother was thirteen. Her family didn’t have any life insurance. Her mother had to move to a smaller apartment and my mother didn’t have her own room. She set up her bed in the small dining area.  If they had had life insurance, her family would not have had to deal with money problems on top of losing someone they loved. They needed to grieve but instead they had to pack up their apartment and move.

When my father’s father died, he had life insurance. My father is one of nine children. When my grandfather died my father’s younger brothers were still teenagers living at home. With the life insurance money, my grandmother was able to start her own business and support herself and her family.

My friend in middle school lived in a rented house. There were four of them: my friend, her mom and dad, and her brother. The house was destroyed by a tornado and everything was lost. Because they didn’t have insurance, they had to start all over. My school collected clothes for them. The government doesn’t always help. Living in North Carolina, our state does not have much help available. They lived in a shelter for a few days and then were moved to a really cheap hotel. They didn’t have any cooking facilities and the four of them were living in one room with two double beds. Eventually, they moved to Colorado to live with her grandmother. If they had had insurance then they would have been able to replace everything they lost and my friend would still be living near me.

My uncle lived in a house. His house was burgled and his computer, TV and other expensive stuff was stolen. His home owner’s insurance replaced everything. Then he was robbed again, two weeks later and all of the new stuff was taken. His insurance agent not only replaced everything again but helped him get a security system installed. He has not been burgled since the alarm was installed.

I have another friend whose family is very close to mine. Her mother was driving on a road when someone pulled out from a shopping plaza and smashed into her car. My friend’s mom had many injuries and her ankle was shattered. She was in the hospital for weeks while she had multiple surgeries. She was in a rehabilitation center for sixth months. She lost her job. Years later, she still has infections in her ankle and walks with a cane. The person who hit her did not have insurance. Fortunately, she had car insurance and was able to pay for all her expenses.

My family does not have a lot of money but we have health insurance. My parents never hesitated to take me to the doctor whenever I was sick. I had well-care visits every year. My tonsils and adenoids often swelled. The doctor said they could swell until they blocked my air passages and I wouldn’t be able to breath. My tonsils could suffocate me. I had surgery to remove my tonsils and my adenoids when I was in first grade. My adult teeth grew in crooked so I got braces when I was thirteen. I got my braces off last month and my teeth are straight. I can eat foods I never was able to eat before. If we didn’t have health insurance, my parents wouldn’t have been able to afford to take me to the doctor as often as I needed. I might have even died, if I hadn’t had surgery.

My mom is disabled. Her doctor’s visits and medicines are paid by our health insurance. She had to go into the hospital for a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. My mom worries about spending money because of our financial situation. She might have ignored her symptoms and died if she didn’t have health insurance to pay for her hospital visit.

I have seen lives destroyed or even lost because families did not have insurance. I have seen families saved because they did. I only have a few years of experience but from the experience of others I have learned one thing: insurance is something you hope you’ll never need but something you must have when you do need it.

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