Public health care option necessary
To the Editor:
I would like to share my story about the scary state of the current health care system and why there needs to be reform. All my adult life I have always paid into the system for insurance - always - never let it lag whether I was covered by my employer or not or whether I wasn't working. The need for insurance was instilled in me by my parents, and after seeing their astronomical bills from their health crises I knew that if they didn't have their insurance they would have lost everything.
And when, of course, I come down with a life-threatening and now deadly disease - stage 4 metastatic breast cancer - I am screwed because the industry does not cover pre-existing conditions. I am currently on a conversion policy because the insurance carriers don't like you to move either. If I chose to stay in Virginia four years ago and not be near my remaining family, I would still be paying an affordable premium. However, I, under the faith that my cancer would not return and my desire to live life to the fullest and do what was best for me, I chose to move to Georgia.
Luckily, I was with Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which allows you to move to another BCBS within their association. Not so ideal was the high monthly premium (last year just for myself - my son is on his own policy which is reasonably priced - was $770 a month) plus a $5,000 deductible before they pay one cent each calendar year. After the deductible is met, then BCBS will pay 80% and I pay 20% of everything.
This year I was on chemotherapy for 6 1/2 months with treatments weekly and lots of testing, of course. My out-of-pocket expenses were astronomical, and I am blessed that I am paying only 20% of the insurance company's negotiated allowables. Then I realized that my lifetime max was only $250,000 (I mistakenly believed it was one million) and that I was going to run out of insurance possibly sometime in 2010. My lifetime maximum is now about out, and no health carrier out there will cover me. Believe me, I tried them all. And unlike other states, Georgia does not have a high-risk pool.
So while I am fighting a disease that only 20% survive for five years, I have to deal with the stress that although I have paid into the "system" all those years when I was very healthy and