Will I Survive Without Health Insurance?
My heart dropped to my stomach when I received a notice a few weeks ago notifying me of the February 1, 2019 termination of my health insurance policy. Yes, I received the notice after the policy was terminated. Actually, many weeks later, my heart is still in my stomach.
My first thoughts turned to the worst case scenario of me without cancer treatment options and the lung cancer spreading while celebrating a break from the treatment that was keeping it at bay. Then my thoughts turned to the reality of what just happened and what needed to happen to fix the situation.
What happens when you lose coverage?
I called my HR department. There was nothing that could be done at that point. Rules were rules, if you understand them when you enter the agreement or not. I was allowed to keep the policy for 365 days. I exceeded that time frame. I needed to find Plan B.
I went to the state online healthcare marketplace. With the help of a couple of customer service representatives, over a couple of phone calls, I learned to navigate the system and how to compare policies. I chose a policy from the same insurance provider as my previous employer policy.
A bad part about losing your insurance and having to switch is your new policy doesn’t go in effect immediately. There is a waiting period to get paperwork sent out and to get your first month’s premium processed. So, here I am in the middle of March and my new policy starts April 1, 2019. I am almost out of my thirty day supply of my targeted therapy chemotherapy. It’s time for my quarterly CT scan to see if my new symptoms and ailments are scanxiety driven and all in my head or if it’s actual cancer growing and spreading throughout my body.
Navigating lung cancer without insurance
I thought of delaying my quarterly scan until the new policy start date. But I have been experiencing newer shortness of breath, fatigue, and I can feel something along my ribs and in/on my chest. I need to know what is going on and can’t wait a few more weeks. It could be anxieties but on the other hand, it could be cancer progression.
I will start my pre-meds this evening for a scan dye allergy. I’m going to show up for my quarterly scan tomorrow with no health insurance. I’m telling you this is scary stuff to go through with insurance. Now I’m about to do it without insurance.
I have been approved for the Colorado Indigent Care Program (CICP). This is a government program offering discounted health care services for low income, underinsured, and uninsured people. It isn’t insurance, but hopefully, it will help make this quarter’s scan and follow-up with my oncologist somewhat affordable.
I also applied for the AZ and Me prescription Savings Program through Astra Zeneca. I received a verbal approval on the phone. Then I filled out my portion of the application. My oncology office completed and submitted the application on my behalf. I’m hoping the official approval is processed before I run out of medication.
Have you experienced insurance obstacles in your lung cancer journey?