It’s No Joke*: Today I Have Health Insurance Again. Finally.

When I had my yearly physical in January, I paid with money I had been saving for two months – money I had set aside solely for the purpose of going to the doc, putting my feet in the stirrups, getting all checked out like a responsible adult does. I was given a ten percent discount for paying in cash and when my doctor prescribed antibiotics for a lung infection for me at that same visit, she took care to prescribe generics that would be likely to be available free or at a reduced cost from most pharmacies.

And later, when I had my eye appointment so I could get new contact lenses (because the poster they have in their office of the eye infections you can get by not changing your lenses FREAKED ME OUT), I purchased my new (totally clean and hygienic) lenses with money I had saved from selling old jewelry, money that I’d wanted to use to buy my kids better gifts at Christmas, but instead used…for my eyes. And that was after my amazing eye doc gave me a free eye exam and reduced the cost of my lens fitting because he is awesome and I? I was broke.

After my divorce was finally officially final last May, I immediately went on my employer’s health insurance plan. Great! Exciting! No lapse in coverage! Whoohoo!

Until my job got cut to part time in July.

Since July 1, I have had no health insurance. Today, my employer’s health insurance coverage kicks in and once again, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I can’t explain how it feels to not be covered by health insurance other than to say that if you think too closely about how you can be bankrupted by one illness or injury, you will want to wrap yourself in a bubble and spray everything down with disinfectant constantly. Things you might go to the doctor for when you have insurance, you think twice about when you don’t.

That lung infection I had in January? Yeah, I totally wouldn’t have seen a doc for that if I hadn’t already had an appointment I had saved for. Even though I was miserable. Even though I needed it.

There were things I did to somewhat ease my mind – I upped my car insurance a bit so that if I had gotten injured in a car accident, those medical expenses would be covered by insurance. I started taking Vitamin C. I stopped playing in traffic. Just seeing if you’re paying attention.

Anyway. There’s only so much you can do.

Anything can happen to anyone and there’s pretty much not a damn thing you can do about it – and when you don’t have health insurance, it’s terrifying.

In the midst of all that, I saw someone post on Facebook complaining of the effects of the Affordable Care Act on her copays (Note: I don’t care if the Obama administration themselves have taken to referring to it as “Obamacare” – I just don’t). What I wanted to say, and never had the guts to (because I’m not a pot-stirrer) is this: The ACA wasn’t made to help the people who are taking their family of seven on multiple trips to Florida every year. Yes, you’re awesome. You work hard, you earned your money, and you can do with it whatever you want. But… it wasn’t made to help you.

It was made to help people who are in the boat I have been in. People, for whom purchasing their own insurance was out of reach. Before ACA, buying your own insurance was pretty cost prohibitive. Yeah. It’s still expensive. I mean, hell, clearly I couldn’t afford it because I didn’t have it… but it was far less expensive than it had been previously.

Am I defending ACA? No. It’s far from perfect. I think the idea of it is a good one – people shouldn’t have to sacrifice good health and preventative care because their circumstances aren’t ideal for affording medical care or insurance.

But, it wasn’t made to help the people who could afford it. And I budgeted to get a pap smear, so my heart doesn’t break too much for those who may end up reconsidering whether or not they can afford that fourth trip to Disney this year.

(I may have been made a bit bitter by my situation. I own it. It’s been a hard year.)

A few months ago, a woman I know posted something to Facebook about people who mooch (not my words) from government programs. Drug tests for everybody!

And I was appalled and insulted.

If you’ll remember, I had spent FIVE HOURS waiting in line at an unemployment office waiting for a meager sum of money that ended up making a huge difference while my work situation was what it was. Did I not have a full time because I was a druggie? No. Did I not have a full time job because I was lazy? Did I expect to just hold my hand out and have someone fill it? No. I worked hard for years, and when times got tough I needed help.

It happens.

It sucks and it happens.

It has been a long hard road of feeling like I would never find my footing again and today, today I have health insurance again and I hope to not take that for granted, just how amazing it is that I will be able to take care of my health and well being without months of planning and budgeting and penny pinching.I look forward to not having to weigh which of the recommended routine physical tests I will do because I can’t afford them all. I’m looking forward to finally rescheduling the dental appointment I cancelled last month because I had no insurance.

So, yeah, I’m excited. More excited than I should be perhaps (“Whoohoo! I can get my cholesterol tested without pinching pennies before hand!”) but excited because if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that there’s a lot that I had been taking for granted, a lot I didn’t appreciate as I should, and now, after everything, I am so grateful, SO. VERY. GRATEFUL. to have peace of mind.




*I hate April Fool’s Day. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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