The View From Your Sickbed

A reader writes:

I was diagnosed with MS in 1990. During the 1990s I was a solo law practitioner and when I applied for health insurance, I was quoted over 3k a month just for me. The only reason I was able to get a quote was that I lived in Massachusetts and you couldn’t be turned down for prior conditions. I continued to work until 2001 when I was in a bad car accident. It, combined with my worsening MS, knocked me for a loop - and out of work. I have been on social security disability since then. Luckily, my wife had some health insurance from her work this whole time. But here in Tennessee where we moved for my health, her health plan is atrocious compared to Massachusetts. My co-pay for Copaxone to treat my MS is $300.00 per month and for my Provigil $50.00 per month. Forget them.

I had actually called her insurance company and asked them to reduce the co-pays to reasonable amounts; and they said no. When I pointed out to them that the drugs were being used to keep me healthy and prevent me from being hospitalized, they still said no. I further pointed out that one month in the hospital due to an exacerbation of my MS would be over 100k for them and that my monthly co-pay added-up for the rest of my life would never equal that amount. The woman from the insurance company, I kid you not, said it was a risk they were willing to take. So I said to her, "From your perspective, the best thing that could happen to me is death?" Silence on the other end.

And I won’t even get into the fact that the out-of-pocket deductible for my family of five - before insurance kicks - is almost 10k. Plus we pay almost $500 per month for the insurance through my wife’s work. And before anyone complains that we chose to have kids: we had them before I got sick. They are in college and we are trying to cover them.