Jaelene M

My name is Jaelene Munoz and I am a high school senior at McClintock High School in Tempe, Arizona. Personally, I never knew much about insurance in my life until a couple of years ago. To this day I still do not fully understand how insurance works, but now that I am older and more mature; I do understand the importance of having insurance. Life is unpredictable. Crazy and erratic events are happening every day and oftentimes there is no way to prevent certain events from occurring. Personally, the idea of all of the horrible possibilities that could happen to me or my family frightens me. I am grateful for the ability to have insurance not only for myself, but mainly for my family.

I have a younger sister, Isabel Munoz, who will be nine years old on November 1st. This little girl is so cute and charming and filled up to her head and toes with joy. Unfortunately, her life has not always been as cheerful as she is. Izzy, which is my family’s nickname for her, has Smith Lemli Optiz Syndrome. Smith Lemli Optiz Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the patient’s ability to synthesize cholesterol. Slim Lemli Optiz syndrome can have several effects on a person such as intellectual disability, behavioral issues, and it can also affect the person’s physical appearance.

Due to her syndrome, Isabel has spent a lot of time at hospitals, doctor offices, and therapist offices. Isabel has a collection of doctors that range from her general doctor to an orthopedic doctor. All of her doctors work together to compose a perfect healthcare system that is customized specifically for her needs. Without these doctors her health would not have been able to improve as much as it has. Before this personalized healthcare system, Isabel was always connected to multiple machines and my entire family was constantly worried about the next trip to the hospital. Now, we enjoy more peace of mind knowing that her doctors are in place, and that is all thanks to insurance. She now has a set daily routine to keep up her health and to prevent hospital trips.  Isabel has also been through many surgeries that have improved her health. One surgery she had was to open her nostrils so she could breathe easier. Another surgery she had was to install her G-Tube, or a gastrostomy tube, which is a tube that is inserted into her abdomen that sends her food straight to her stomach. This G-tube replaced her previous nasogastric tube, which was painful and hard to manage. Other than the surgeries that were performed on her, Isabel spent most of her young life at the hospital. Due to Isabel’s Smith Lemli Optiz syndrome, her immune system is not as strong as it should be, so the other times she was in the hospital was when she was trying to recover from an illness. In addition to my younger sister’s doctors and surgeons, she also has a load of therapists. These therapists work together, similar to her doctors, to make up other health care systems. Isabel meets with these therapists once a week or once every other week. These therapists work to improve the way Isabel walks, eats, uses her hands, and work to improve her hip dysplasia, which is a misalignment of a hip joint. All of these different health care professionals work together to improve my younger sister’s quality of life.

Without insurance these past nine years would have been much worse, more troublesome, and more miserable. Insurance, specifically health care insurance, is the reason all of these improvements to Isabel’s health were able to happen. My family has been focusing on my sister’s health and making sure she is getting the best treatment. If Isabel had no insurance my family would be under constant stress having to worry about the financial aspect of Izzy’s health needs. As stated above, Isabel has had a lot of procedures done, a lot of doctors’ appointments, a lot of sessions with her therapists, and an abundance of various scans. All of these things would have added up over the years to an insane amount of money that nobody would be able to pay off in one lifetime. Health insurance is important to me because it has allowed my family to focus solely on Isabel’s health, instead of money. Health insurance has helped keep my baby sister alive and well. Without health insurance Isabel would not be able to have the special care that she has today, and without that everything would be much more difficult.

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