Overwhelmed man looking at circles containing health insurance symbols, medicine, a dollar sign, a stethoscope, and a cancer ribbon

Insurance Obstacles

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I never would have imagined all the health insurance details that I would come across. That would include keeping it, changing it, paying for it and the list goes on and on. I am truly fortunate to be able to write this post because I know many have to rely on Medicaid or pay out of pocket and that is a whole different beast to battle.

At the time of diagnosis

I was diagnosed at a younger than usual age and while I had health insurance at the time of diagnosis during my 20’s that wasn’t always the case. I have found that as a younger person we never worry as much about health insurance. My mindset has completely changed on the subject though.

My previous employer paid months and months of my health insurance for me, and they definitely did not have to do that, and I am forever in debt to them because of it. I went from being a full-time employee getting the insurance through my employer to not working and on cobra to eventually back to working part-time.

Love, lung cancer and insurance

I basically expedited getting married to be able to be covered. My husband proposed to me around Valentine’s Day, and I was very ill. I was going back and forth to Boston for a clinical trial. We ended up getting married that December even though we had planned on having a somewhat long engagement.

I was shopping around for health insurance on the marketplace and spoke with someone who represented my workplace, and the options were slim. I had requirements that needed to be met such as my oncologist and hospital needed to be in-network. I also had a few prescriptions that needed to be available to me.

The importance of stable medical insurance

Once I was on his insurance, I always worried about losing it because I was not in control. His actions at work, not that he was a bad employee by any means, directly affected whether I was covered. His workplace also changed plans yearly and even more frequently when the company was bought out.

That in of itself proved to be challenging trying to change the details at the doctors, figuring out which specialty pharmacy I needed to use and how to view the plan information, and setting up new logins.

I have my own plan now through my employer and I have been lucky enough to be covered by them for almost 2 years. It’s not the best coverage but I am able to see my oncologist at Northwestern. I am currently on a TKI and it is fully covered with no co-pay through this plan as well.

Where I am now

We are in a growing phase as Robert is getting a new job that pays a bit more than his old job. He will also have a pretty good benefits package. I have 4 months to decide if changing is the best for me.

How have you handled the ups and downs of insurance issues that you have faced after the diagnosis?

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