Multiple sclerosis, Uncategorized

Cover me

Today I called to refill my MS treatment, the shot regimen that we hope keeps the worst symptoms at bay for a good, long time. I pin so many of my hopes on that drug, my doctors, and the medical field in general.

I won’t say how much this treatment would cost me a year — the price tag is staggering. Like choke on sheer air from the cost. But because I’m insured, I am enrolled in a program that helps me pay for it.

Insurance I have because I have a job. And I have a job as long as I can stay healthy. The treatment keeps me healthy. My own little ouroboros, this cycle that always exists, and constantly gets renewed with each new box of shots.

It dawned on me the other day that I have become someone with a pre-existing condition. That’s a big chunk of seriousness with far-reaching complications, considering the biggest health issue I had before MS was persistent allergies.

I’m not going to tiptoe into the messy minefield that is our current political atmosphere, but I will say this much about the much maligned health care law: I am grateful beyond measure that if my job circumstances change and I have to get different health coverage, I can’t be denied insurance or charged higher premiums because of a pre-existing condition. I’m so grateful that I don’t even hear the grumbling of those who say it’s people like me who make insurance premiums go up.

The thought that I could be without coverage, and therefore without treatment, scares the hell out of me.

I now have a deeper sense of understanding for what my husband has been going through for as long I’ve known him. As a Type 1 diabetic, Nick takes insulin, routinely checks his blood sugar, and lives with the nagging thought in the back of his mind that life will always be a little more complicated, with a few more limitations.

But, we can hope, it is a life that will always include a way to afford health care.

10 thoughts on “Cover me”

  1. I just wanted to vote for you to say how much the medicine costs. It’s important that people hear about it because it will make people realize what a wacky health care system we have at the moment.

    I you don’t mind, I’ll do it for you, your medicine’s retail cost is about $36,000 per year. So is mine. Of course, only an uninsured multi-millionaire would pay that price out of pocket, but that’s the sticker price.

    1. I had such sticker shock when I first saw that number. Quite a hefty price to pay for a disease that we have practically no control over getting.

  2. I have insurance until the end of the month, and I’m worried. I decided to pick up and leave my job and move to another state in the hopes of making my life better (i.e. grad school, moving away from an abusive relationship, etc.). This whole “pre-existing” clause has me terrified. I know that I have 63 days from the last day of coverage to find insurance but when you usually have to wait 90 days to gain insurance from a new company they are able to wiggle out of that. So now, I have to wait and see what happens. Within the first two days I arrived in my new state I had a flare-up. I’m so thankfull I have my previous insurance until the end of the month but what happens when it runs out? I’m scared straight and applying for state medical assistance as soon as I can. We need reform. It’s just to scary of a place to be without it. If only they’d walk a mile in our shoes, I bet they wouldn’t like it.

  3. i read another blog of a woman in ireland… she is on a WAITING LIST to get her meds… they have nationalized healthcare i believe… anyhow, there is a national board that will decide whether or not she even gets to take the meds….! insane! i’m afraid that is going to happen here…. i am all for affordable healthcare, but when it comes down to a group of bureaucrats deciding whether or not i can take a medication, well, quite simply, that pisses me off. I have insurance through my job so my meds that cost $3,119.00 per month only cost me $25…

    the nice thing here is that for those who cannot afford the meds, or don’t have insurance, the NMSS will help pay as will the company that provides the drug, for example Shared Solutions….

    i too just learned about the pre-existing situation… i found out that as long as i don’t have a lapse in coverage, i will not be denied insurance…. that was a huge relief! i cannot afford to pay $4,000 a month for all my meds, plus doctor’s visits, MRI’s, etc… not many of us can….

  4. I feel like a large part of my life was defined by my pre-existing condition. I couldn’t attend grad school because I dropped from my parents’ insurance at 23. I had to choose a job based on the company being large enough not to have a health exam. Then, a couple years later, my company’s insurance declined to cover a new prescription my doctor wrote. The cost of the drug without insurance was astronomical. I had to decide between being sick or looking for a new job… and had to ask a potential employer to verify the medication would be covered before I agreed to work there. Some people want sign-on bonuses. It’s sad I just wanted medication. I’m happy at my current job but I’ve always felt a bit of a weight, like I *couldn’t* leave without insurance / prescription hoopla. Now, like you, I don’t have to be as afraid if my circumstances change.

    I have mixed feelings on the current version of healthcare reform, but all I know is that we need reform and at least right now I don’t feel like a second-class citizen for having an illness.

  5. I guess how one feels about health reform might depend on what side of the fence one is on. I guess because I’m on the side where the mud is up to my eyeballs, you might guess where I land in that debate.

  6. I certainly breathe a sigh of relief about pre-existing conditions on behalf of Alaina. For those who don’t know me, my daughter was born without an anal opening. When she was 2 days old, she had surgery that created stomas and gave her an ostomy bag. A few months later, she had another surgery to create an anal opening and after that had healed, her surgeon operated one more time to take down the stomas so she could ditch the bag.
    My child will likely have colon and digestive issues for the rest of her life. Hopefully, diet will be able to keep much of it under control, but prescription drugs are a very real possibility for her. I am so grateful that she won’t be penalized by insurance companies later in life for having a birth defect.

  7. girl, i have been without insurance for over 4 years now. i haven’t been able to get any b/c of pre-existing coverage. my boss is trying hard to get me squeezed into the system before repels take away my chances for getting coverage. thank the universe, i don’t have anything like MS. but, i live every single day with the fear that my appendix will rupture or i will fall and break a leg – it sucks. or something else much to worse to name.

    1. That really upsets me – no one should have to go without insurance. I hate that you have this constant worry. Because there are so many what ifs…we can control some things, but our bodies are strange and unpredictable things prone to sickness and accidents. I hope you can get something worked out.

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