Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t (Rejected by Health Insurer Because I Have A Disease)
Posted Oct 05 2010 7:17am
The following is a guest post by Alisa.
My family has been paying a very high premium and a lot of additional out-of-pocket expenses for health insurance, so last week we decided to check into switching carriers. My husband and I completed the medical history section verbally with a representative from the insurance company. I provided full disclosure of my substance abuse problem… I was in in-patient rehab twice, I have been clean for over one year, and I am currently taking a prescribed medication for opiate dependence. Our application was accepted for my husband and kids, but mine was “rejected due to opiate dependence.”
There’s that word again… “rejected.” The way I’ve felt most of my life. And now I have a piece of paper based on someone else’s judgment of me saying it on white paper in black ink, “We reject you.” If I had not been in a good place in my recovery and managing my disease, I may have taken this as confirmation from others of what I already thought of myself and used it as an excuse to go out and get high. My actively diseased mind could have easily said, “Fine… I’ll just use that money I was going to use to pay your bill to go get high.” I would have used the money to go get high so that I didn’t have to deal with the feelings of being a societal “reject.”
Fortunately, I am successfully managing my disease, so none of these things came to mind as an option. There’s something else to say about it though. It involved my family. I am truly blessed to have a supportive husband who said, “No big deal… we’ll just keep you on the policy you have now and we’ll just switch mine and the kids.” What if I had had to deal with someone who didn’t understand? someone who got angry with me for costing the family more money? Until my husband said, “It’s OK,” I sat there holding my breath… shoulders slumped, afraid to make eye contact, reconnecting with my old guilt and shame… feeling terrified that he was going to “reject” me, too, because of the trouble and money I was causing the family.
In addition to all of these things, I just have to comment on the irony of the whole situation. Don’t we want people off of welfare insurance? What if I was trying to come off of welfare insurance and pay for health care with legitimately earned money out of my own pocket… but no one will insure me. Not only that… how about the fact that I was denied health insurance because I have a disease?? I have trouble even wrapping my mind around that. Does anyone else think it makes any sense??