Since moving to Colorado, I’ve had to think a lot about in-sur-ance (n.): a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium; a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.
We pay for the eventuality (n.)–the possible event or outcome.
We try to in-sure (v.): arrange for compensation in the event of damage to or loss of (property), or injury to or the death of (someone), in exchange for regular advance payments to a company or government agency; secure or protect someone.
“In return for payment of a premium.” If it is an eventuality that we need in-sur-ance, why are premiums so high?
After being on my parent’s insurance my entire life and thinking nothing of it, it was a rude awakening to go to graduate school and find that my in-sur-ance, though valid in New York, only covered trips to the emergency room. I couldn’t go to a primary care physician for a sinus infection. I wasn’t covered when I needed a new inhaler. Though prescriptions were still under coverage, you can’t get a prescription without first seeing a doctor. In the two and a half years before I qualified for medicaid in the state of Colorado, my in-sur-ance stopped covering my birth control.
I stopped taking it.
I went to a women’s health clinic after several months. The premenstrual nausea kept at bay by birth control returned. I got discounted care and pills from he clinic.
I wanted to get tested for celiac disease. I wanted allergy testing. I was experiencing migraines. In November, my gynecologist changed my birth control because of the migraines. She didn’t want me to stroke out. She suggested that after I got Colorado in-sur-ance, I get an IUD. I added it to my wish list of medical possibilities.
In January, I finally qualified for in-sur-ance. In March, I was able to see the primary care physician. She sent me for blood testing for celiac disease.
As an adjunct professor teaching two classes at a community college making a little over $1000 a month, I was making too much money. I no longer qualified for medicaid. My coverage would end after May despite the fact that my job also ended in May.
Fortunately, my new job offered a health insurance plan; however, last week, I received a letter from the lab that did the testing. My in-sur-ance denied my claim. Testing I had been waiting almost three years to have done. Testing that would tell me if eating gluten was physically destroying my intestines. Testing that felt like it would have the answer to questions and problems I cried over when I felt nauseous; when my stomach ached; when I couldn’t afford groceries because gluten-free options are twice as expensive.
Yes, I have a job that allows me to pay rent and provides health insurance, but I am paying off credit card bills from when I couldn’t afford groceries, gas, or toiletries; I am trying to make student loan payments; I may have to pay $1300 for blood work I thought was covered–blood work that felt vital for my sanity.
To be human is to need in-sur-ance for the possible eventualities.
I should have seen this eventuality coming.