The Union Recorder

Columns

March 12, 2014

DAVIDSON: The plight of being uninsured

MILLEDGEVILLE — I tried to be careful by contacting my insurance provider upon deciding to resign from my job. I suppose no matter how careful you try to be, life happens. When I thought that I would be insured for another month, I was rudely awakened by being told I was misinformed and that I was now among the millions of Americans that are uninsured.

It’s a very strange feeling. I’d been insured through my job for more than a decade, and during that time, like many, simply considered it something that was not worth thinking about. I’d grown accustomed to the system. I was even my former employer’s benefits coordinator. I knew how the system worked and had finally figured out how to maximize those benefits. Now, unemployed, I felt alone. Frustrated. The shock of it is still something that I’m adjusting to. To be fully insured one minute and then uninsured the next is not something I had thought would realistically happen to me.

I suppose if there ever is a good time to be without health insurance, now would be that time. There are now more options out there for the uninsured. Regardless of what your political views are, there is something to be said about the ability for you to get insurance where that wasn’t available before. Although I’d looked at the healthcare.gov website out of prior curiosity as a benefit coordinator, now I looked at it as someone who needed it.

I’m not like most 30-something-year-olds. I have a list of specialists and medications that I have to take. I can’t be uninsured or casually insured. I need a full featured plan that will cover my yearly MRIs and routine tests and visits to my various doctors. Again, most years the only health care decision I needed to make was whether or not to increase my contributions to my FSA. Now, I’d not only lost (forfeited) all the money in my FSA, I became a patient without a doctor.

I was diligent in making sure that I’d recently filled all of mine and my husband’s prescriptions and also made sure that they were all three-month prescriptions. However, as I refill our pill cases each week I see the pills and my calm dwindle. I’m still waiting for life to catch up with my recent employment changes. I’m still job hunting and am trying desperately to be optimistic. If only I could sometimes be less of a realist.

The healthcare.gov site has been very easy to use. It’s aesthetically pleasing and has a wealth of information. At this juncture I need to decide if I’m going to apply for a plan or hold on to the hope that I will be employed and insured in short order. Why? Well, I’ve discovered that none of my doctors are in the network for any of the plans being offered. I’d heard rumors and grossly exaggerated stories about this happening, but I didn’t expect it to happen to me.

There are moments when I’m bitter. I made the choice to resign my job and I have to be better about accepting that there are consequences to my actions. I feel that there has been a great deal more good to come from this life change than bad. I am now living in the same town as my family and I see a lot more of them. My quality of life is much improved. Sure, I could dwell on the negative aspects of what has happened but that would only drive me into despair and depression.

Even when things look dismal, there is always a silver lining. I have grown a lot over the past few years. Things that would have had me in a tailspin before now only add to the layers of my life. I may not be insured at the moment but I am ensured a much better view of life and how to really live it.

LaToya M. Davidson can be contacted at latoyadavidson@me.com or follow her on Twitter, @LaToyaonUR.

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