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Before I had CVID, I never really thought about health insurance. I was a young person who went to college, held part time jobs, was on my Dad’s insurance, and went to the university medical center if I ever got sick.
Once I was diagnosed with my chronic illness, everything seemed to happen so fast. I had to start SCIg treatment a few weeks later, which is a very expensive treatment without insurance. I calculated that my plasma alone costs over $2,000 every two weeks. I can’t imagine paying that out of pocket.
I was lucky that my dad had everything under control, and our insurance plan with Cigna helped us greatly reduce the cost and allow me to do my weekly treatments with ease. Every time I am sent a refill of my plasma, I don’t have to stress at all.
Over the course of a few years, I was receiving scans, surgery, IV’s, and many doctor’s visits. That’s why it was so important for me to have a health insurance plan. All of these costs can add up on their own.
I am currently 23 years old, and I am still on my dad’s insurance. I was recently laid off, and the main thing I thought about was how grateful I was that I had not hit that age 26 mark where I was on my own.
I thought about the many people around the world with chronic illness that do not have access to health insurance or affordable treatment for their diseases.
The need for essential health services
According to the World Health Organization, about half of the world population goes without basic, essential health services.
It breaks my heart to think about those who are struggling and can’t get better due to the lack of resources.
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation stated in 2021 that 27 million Americans (8.3% of the population) were without insurance at least one point in time throughout the year. In 2021, about 35% of Americans were on public insurance (Medicaid and Medicare).
Without insurance, majority of medical treatments are extremely expensive, and many people cannot afford it. On the other hand, those that do pay out of pocket can be forced into poverty because a large amount of their income is being spent on these essential medical expenses.
Having a chronic illness is not a choice, unfortunately, and it can be very devastating to lost so much money on these expenses that someone can’t live without.
Since I was laid off, I have realized how lucky I am to be on a family insurance plan that is steadfast regardless of employment status.
I turn 24 in September, which means I have 2 more years on the plan before I will rely on my own employment for insurance plans.
This definitely gives me anxiety, but it is also good to have it on my mind when looking for jobs. Health insurance is one of those “adult” things that I never knew much about, but as I navigate my career, I want to make sure I do my research on insurance plans in relation to my plasma treatments. Since I go through Coram (a part of CVS), I have a contact there that I can always talk to if I need help, which is really awesome.
Chronic illness can change your perspective on life
It’s crazy to think about the impact of a chronic illness diagnosis. Our priorities can swiftly change, and we need to put emphasis on things that we never thought about before. Most young people don’t get sick that often, so it might not be a top priority. It definitely wasn’t for me.
While unexpected health issues can be hard, they also remind you to take care of yourself and value your wellbeing.
I have taken a step back recently and focused on things that will help me better my physical and mental health. It’s a journey, and it takes time to make a change!
Health Insurance Resources
If you are currently without insurance or facing insurance issues, go check out these 8 resources from K Health:
Here are a few more articles:
This can be really tricky to navigate, and I hope that as the years go on, I can continue to better understand health insurance.
Always remember to give yourself grace and don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your life if you need help!