After having worked in nursing for 20 years, a few years ago I found myself unemployed, uninsured and with a chronic health condition.
I was not able to afford health insurance at all, even if I found a company that would cover me with a pre-existing condition. The treatments I needed were much too expensive to pay for out of pocket. I was told to move to a city with a university hospital and sign up for experimental treatments. I couldn’t believe that was my option – to move away from my loved ones and be used as a guinea pig.
So for four years, I didn’t go to the doctor and I skipped biopsies. I had no idea if I was healthy, if I had cancer, if I was getting sicker. I lived with that constant fear every day.
But last month I signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. I was able to get Geisinger insurance with a low deductible that will cover my treatments (only $30 per month). When I heard that, I felt a huge weight being lifted off me – a weight I didn’t even realize I was carrying, because I had become so numb to the despair.
I’m surprised how many people think ACA means the government will give you health care. That’s not true. ACA lets you buy private health insurance and provides subsidies to help cover the cost, if you qualify.
My hope is for everyone who lacks health insurance to sign up. It has literally changed my life. No one should live with the uncertainty and fear that goes along with not being able to afford health care.