Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life: The Ultimate Pre-Existing Condition

Last Thursday night, before I went to see the therapist who would concur with my suspicion that I was suffering from depression, I made a list of things that were bothering me or that I had issues with. I figured if I armed myself with a list I’d be able to better explain myself when asked why I was there and what I thought was wrong with me.

Today -- after doing an initial phone intake with someone who said they’d get back to me with a list of therapists who accepted my insurance -- I realized there were many more things that have caused me to feel as though a Dementor has been hovering over me sucking out my soul; things I’d forgotten to put down on my list.

It’s not just about fear, anger or lack of determination. There’s more to feeling and being unfocused and demotivated. One of the things I forgot was the bullshit health insurance companies put you through. They won’t pay for this or they won’t pay for that. Or they’ll only pay “X.” Well, for what they pay or won’t, I frankly don’t see why they call health insurance a “Medical Benefit.” It’s of no benefit to me if I have to pay out-of-pocket more than what the insurance company is willing to pay the provider!

So, despite the fact that the following three words have become yet another topic -- like religion and politics -- not to be discussed in mixed company, I’m going to put it out there all the same. National health plan. Yes, I said it. Yes, I want one. And yes, I know it will raise taxes.

Now, I know there are those who oppose it. There are even those who say there's nothing wrong with health insurance the way it is. For just a moment, though -- work with me here -- just imagine a country where you don’t have to keep a shitty job you don’t like, where you’re underpaid or under-appreciated, simply because you need the health insurance for yourself and your family.

Let’s say you’re job is already stressful. Now add to that the fact that you’re unhappy, your spouse might be unemployed, or your kid needs braces or new glasses. You’ve just gone and added on a whole mess of even more stress to your life; which usually ends up in one of several ways. If you don’t wind up causing bodily harm to another, usually a loved one, you wind up doing it to yourself. If neither of those do the trick, just wait…your health could be jeopardized and your health impacted in ways you couldn’t have predicted. All because that stress has a way of manifesting itself in a physical form. Oh, and because of that, you now probably have a pre-existing condition, so your insurance premium will go up. We won't even discuss the differences from one age group to another or the cost for a man as opposed to a woman.

Hmmmm. Let’s see, Mr. Health Insurance Rep. Would that pre-existing condition happen to be called life? Our own mortality?

Imagine, if you will, the freedom to quit your job and work at a coffee shop simply because it pleases you. Or perhaps you like to get your hands dirt and cut someone’s grass, landscape their yard. Some of you might enjoy getting your hands greasy and play with car parts all day long, or woodworking, or metal. Maybe, instead of teaching, you want to go back to school and study music. You might be like me and discover you prefer to work from home instead of dealing with the hassles of corporate politics, commuting, and kissing ass.

I don’t know about you but, as I get older, there’s only one ass I want to be kissing and it belongs to the man in my life.

Better yet, what if you just want to work part-time because you want to use the rest of your week to work on your Opus? What a huge relief it would be not to have to worry about going to see the doctor or wondering where you’re going to get money for co-pays and office visits! How wonderful if, for once, you could walk away from surgery without later discovering you still owe several thousands of dollars to this doctor, that nurse, the anesthesiologist, and even the janitor for cleaning up your puke!

Frankly, it's close to impossible for me to meet this premium, for which I'm still paying the annual deductible. And that's just an individual plan! I shudder to think what it would be if I were straight, married, and with children.

So, at the risk of being called naive, I’m creatively visualizing a country where everyone, not just me, has full access to health care, regardless of who you are or what you need; mental, vision, dental, hearing, physical.

I’m imagining a plan where what you pay covers everything and that there are no out-of-pocket expenses or that it simply be a write-off, simply because when all is said and done, mental well-being will promote physical well-being. Which, in turn, makes us happier and live longer.

In my mind, what I’m seeing right now looks perfectly lovely.


  1. I can't talk about health insurance or I might stroke out,be taken to the emergency room given all kinds of test I didn't ask for that I will have to pay out of pocket because I haven't reached my deductible.

  2. Very well said, and I've been saying just this all along. And yes, I've caught my share of looks and disgruntled words but I care not...We need this indeed. My insurance a month ago sent me a letter: This may be a pre-existing issue. I have anxiety/stress/depression. Gee? You think? UGH..And they make it worse. Keep on trucking on honey and please know you are loved and you are not alone. Can't you feel me holding your hand?

  3. @BC: Laughing my ass off! I hear ya. I soooo hear ya.

  4. @Michele: Glad to hear I'm not the only one that feels this way. Good luck with fighting it! And yes, I feel you holding my hand. But what I feel more is your hugs. Back at ya, luv!