Denied, again.

Rising health care costs, pre-existing conditions, and unemployment are all reasons one might be denied health coverage and no person is really exempt. Of course, some are better off than others. For some interesting views and good listening, check out this NPR episode about health care and the woman's plight when it comes to securing insurance.

Women Pay The Price For Health Insurance: NPR

A recent front page article in the Salt Lake Tribune defined Utah's troubling numbers: roughly 1/3 of all residents in this state have been without coverage sometime in the past two years. Those numbers were provided by the national group Families USA, although state officials came up with a calculation far less-- only 12%. Either way, the point is clear-- too many people are without health insurance and financial burdens of visiting a doctor if one does not have coverage can be exorbitant. A basic visit to a family physician without any tests, labs, or procedures will likely cost over $100, and because of increasing numbers of people without coverage, the downturn in the economy, slashed state funding and other factors, low-income community facilities that serve the uninsured are cutting back at a time when they should be expanding.

When my family switched insurance providers back in 2006, from IHC (their provider for roughly 20 years) to Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Utah, my mom, dad, 2 younger brothers and younger sister were all granted coverage. I was denied on the basis that in high school I had heavy bleeding and cramping with my menses. Their justification was that this pre-existing condition put me at risk for other "female related problems," and I was referred to the website for coverage with the state, a program for people deemed uninsurable through private companies-- mostly people with severe conditions and terminal illnesses. I felt defeated and went the next two years without insurance.

Usher in AmeriCorps, the federally funded national service program in which I participated during 2008. As a term of employment, each AmeriCorps member is granted health insurance during their term (which was 10 months for me). Glorious!

Of course, at the end of the program I was again without insurance and stuck in a still-sticky situation. Unemployed, returning to the university as a student, and needing/wanting health insurance, I looked into the student plans available to me through the Student Wellness Center. Reading the fine print detailed in the plans took much longer than expected, thousands and thousands of words defining what services would not be covered, it turned out basically everything I needed health insurance for was out of the question. No female exams, no lab tests, nothing relating to this and that condition, no preventative care allowed, accidents are problematic. Why would I pay for something that gives me no help?

I looked into COBRA, a program that extends health insurance to those who have recently lost employment. The time frame to get all the paperwork in was short, but I made it and then found out the premiums-- over $200 a month for me. There was no way for me to pay that. And then the window closed.

Desperation is beginning to settle in. I applied for coverage through Humana last week and was denied, again. With each denial from a private insurance company, my records are flagged red and I am less likely to ever get independent coverage. I don't qualify for medicaid. I don't have an employer through which I can get insurance. It looks like my last option is to pursue state health insurance, and if that does not work out I'll probably just go for cheap accident insurance-- at least that's some protection, eh? Right now I sure do wish we had a nationalized system... or at least a system that better serves individuals such as myself.

I'm beginning to think that insurance is really just fraud in disguise, or maybe its nasty cousin.


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