Monday, February 20, 2012
Preparing for an Awesome Bonfire
This will be a catharsis of sorts.
The ten year anniversary of Andy's death is rapidly approaching. Over these years I have written many items regarding grief, recalled many happy and bittersweet memories, and poured out my emotions in general. One thing I haven't told is the awful story of the mountains of medical bills we dealt with, and how the walls kept closing in as I wrestled with the insurance company to make sure Andy received the benefits that my insurance was expected to cover; the medicines and treatments that were keeping him alive.
In addition to the anguish and fear we both felt as Andy slowly headed toward the light, I was also dealing with this:
These photos show the reason for my red-hot hatred of the insurance industry. It would not have upset me if these were statements of bills paid. No, that's not how it worked then, and that's not how it works today. These are piles and piles of denial letters and subsequent correspondence. These represent the bald-faced fact of health insurance companies...
They are not here to help us stay healthy or regain our health.
They are here to make a profit. Period.
At the time, I told my family and friends, "I am seeing the future of medical care and insurance, and it isn't pretty, folks."
We were a couple of the earliest baby-boomers to see what's in store for us if drastic changes aren't made. President Obama's new health care plan is a baby step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough. To prevent this from happening in YOUR future, we need a single payer system. For a system to make any family with a critically ill loved one have to go through this paperwork nightmare, to keep the patient receiving their treatments, is unconscionable.
During the next few days I will be posting a few of the insurance "highlights" that we went through. As recently as two years ago I wouldn't have been able to consider doing this. Even still, thumbing through this stuff makes the panic rise in my chest, and like invisible hands are wrapped around my throat, slowly suffocating me.
Maybe my story will help someone else.
I know it will help me to tell it.
At the end, I am going to mark the tenth anniversary of Andy's death with a lovely bonfire. I wish it were that easy to burn up all the bad memories.
But it's a start.