by David B. Walsh
Over 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with what is now commonly known as a pre- existing condition (high blood pressure). As such, I have realized for a long time that being approved for private insurance would be difficult, if not impossible.
Realizing that, when small “start- up” companies approached me with attractive opportunities, I felt I had to turn them down. While colleagues called our generous Benefits package “The Golden Handcuffs”, I believed I HAD to stay with the firm for the sake of our family’s financial security, as well as saving myself the embarrassment of disclosing my condition to a new employer.
This year, based on the stress associated with my Middle Management position for the aforementioned Fortune 15 firm, and my long- time physician’s recommendation, I decided to try Early Retirement. This way, I was guaranteed eligibility to purchase Health Insurance thru my former employer, at their group rate.
Unfortunately, the insurer, Anthem Blue Cross/ Blue Shield, based our family’s rate, on my age, 58. This resulted in a monthly premium of $2200 for me, my wife (age 49), and stepson (18). While both my wife and I applied with several private insurance companies, we were denied coverage. My wife was also considered to have a pre-existing condition for having had had treatments for some skin cancers.
Both my wife and I are certified Patient Navigators/ Health Care Workers thru Boomers Leading Change in Health Care, and we also volunteer at Project Angel Heart. But our monthly premiums for health insurance changed our strategy about volunteering full- time.
So now, I am back working for another large employer, hoping for coverage by November, to cover the time until Obamacare kicks in.
I will be one of the first to apply online October 1, in hopes of finding a reasonable premium to cover our family’s healthcare needs. If I am successful, it will go a long way in precluding the “Job Lock” I experienced prior to implementation of The Affordable Care Act. I feel much more secure, in providing for our family, knowing I have a viable “Plan B”—purchasing health care insurance, in spite of our pre- existing conditions.
Once I have familiarized myself with the process, I have committed to helping family & friends with their applications!