Skip to Content Site Map | Fast Facts | Search

Citizens' Health Care Working Group

Health Care that Works for All Americans

Citizens' Health Care Working Group Health Care that Works for All Americans Home Page

It's Up To You

What's next in the national discussion about our health care? This is your chance to be part of an important debate. Use the resources of this web site to learn about our health care system.

What happens next, depends on you.

Citizens' health care experiences:

We respect your privacy. All comments will be displayed anonymously.

SUBMIT your own experiences or complete our poll.

Go to current Shared Experiences page, or read entries from other months: June 2006; May 2006; April 2006.

icon - man speakingJuly 31, 2006

All was well until my wife and I became self employed. We pay $1,400 per month for insurance at ages 60 and 55. It is a real burden and drains us financially. I am a Viet Nam era vet and I was excluded from VA healthcare as were all section 8 vets. This sucks and demonstrates the misplaced priorities of our government. Make everyone buy insurance on their own and you will see major changes. (Submitted 7/15/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 28, 2006

My husband and I have health insurance provided by my husband’s employer. Our big problem is the co-payments. While I am very healthy and pay only once or twice a year a co-payment between $25 - 40, which is absolutely ok, my husband’s co-payments are the problem. He had a kidney transplant, has Diabetes and recently had a minor stroke. His co-payments for doctors and for his medication are very high. He takes over 13 different medications a day. In other countries (like the one I am from) people who are chronically ill and relay on medication on a daily basis have reduced co-payments. Since I was laid off a month ago from my job we really have a hard time to pay all those co-payments. I think it is not fair that people who need very expensive medication on a daily basis and have to go more than other people to the doctor have to pay the same co-payments than healthy people like me. I don't know what exactly can be done about it, but I know that there are possibilities, because in a lot of countries those problems don't exist. We both still young (29 years old) and pay monthly hundreds of dollars co-payments. I would like to go to a dentist or gynecologist for a regular check up, but currently I am not, because I don't want to spend more money than necessary on co-payments. That is not a good basis for a healthy life. (Submitted 7/20/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 27, 2006

I was laid off my job because of tax cuts and right now have $50 a month core major medical insurance. I would like to buy this insurance after my cobra runs out. Please offer it. Along with a health clinic, I can survive. (Submitted 7/20/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 26, 2006

I have a chronic disease, and I am disabled from it. I'm trying to get back to work by learning new skills. BUT....our society frowns on people like me, because I am living "off the system." Yet, I had to wait five years to have a joint replacement, because I couldn't afford the medical costs. I also am unable to afford the medication to help me keep from having further joint damage. (Submitted 7/21/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 25, 2006

In July of 2001, at age 58, I found the need to quit my 6-1/2-year position as social worker/grief counselor with a local hospice, to find more time to assist my aging parents, aware that I would lose my work-related health insurance in the process. But I knew I could get coverage under the recently initiated domestic partner health insurance provision at the city-owned hospital where my life-partner works, and did so. I then started a private counseling practice, with the flexible work hours I needed, and all was going fairly well until the newly-elected Colorado Springs mayor and the city council rescinded the domestic partner health insurance provision for city-owned businesses, and I suddenly found myself with no health insurance at all! And realistically, I'm not eligible for the city's indigent medical coverage, either. I tried to get coverage through several avenues as a business owner, but could not afford the high premiums. I was turned down by Blue Cross because I had incurred a diagnosis of depression and a prescription for an antidepressant when I was simultaneously trying to care for my parents and work at hospice. (My mother died in 2003, and I was faced with moving my father to a care facility, and dealing with their possessions of 60 years' marriage. My depression was actually situational; I'm no longer taking the antidepressant, and am doing quite well.)

My prescription medicines cost so much that I couldn't afford them, so I began ordering them from Canada to save money; one of my orders was recently confiscated by our government to "protect" me from drugs not approved by the FDA (the drug was Synthroid, a common thyroid medicine.) They did assure me I had NOT broken any laws, but that my medicine would be returned to the sender anyway. So, although I own a small but growing business, I live in fear of having an accident or serious illness, as I'm still struggling to repay business loans, and could not face another large financial obligation. I'm 62, and will just have to wait until I'm covered by Medicare, praying nothing happens until then! (Submitted 7/21/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 24, 2006

Well, now I'm a casualty too. Unable to find employment that provides insurance in recent years, I was at least radiantly healthy for a middle-aged American man, sticking to my lifestyle doing all the right things, such as working out religiously. Unfortunately that may have also backfired, as it seems the cartilage in my joints, particularly knees, has been wearing out--it's possible my bicycling motion has been out of whack. Anyway, recently I took on temporary work delivering telephone directories, a hard job especially when you find yourself climbing a lot of stairs. Somehow I tore something loose in my left knee, surprisingly unceremoniously as I'm not even sure exactly when it happened. I'm studying the problem myself and it's likely the medial meniscus. I can't run on it. An operation will run somewhere between 10 and 20 thousand bucks. I don't know what I'm going to do besides pray I can get a job with medical coverage; meanwhile let's all find out what life is like walking and cycling around with a torn knee meniscus; won't this be interesting research! My contribution to our wonderful health care system! Stay tuned, folks. (Submitted 7/21/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 17, 2006

I belong to an HMO (Group Health Coop of Washington State) and am also on Medicare due to being disabled with Muscular Dystrophy. I've been trying to get a powered standing wheelchair for the past 6 months, as I cannot stand up without pushing myself out of a manual wheelchair using my dining room table. I also have limited walking ability. The doctors I've seen, as well as a physical therapist I've been working, agree I need this piece of equipment. I should not be walking at all due to the amount of weakness in my legs and pushing myself up to a standing position has become almost impossible. Since my HMO manages my Medicare, they say they must abide by Medicare's rules. Request for payment was denied due to Medicare's rule that they will only cover a power chair if you cannot walk around your home and the seat/lift portion if you can walk once standing. One rule contradicts the other. I now have to go thru the appeals process. I'm told I'm one of those who "fall through the cracks". I live alone, am losing more and more strength, and need this piece of equipment in order to keep my independence. Medicare needs to change their rules to help those of us who "fall through the cracks" get what we need without having to go through a lengthy appeal process. The disabled shouldn't have to fight so hard to get what they need to keep their independence. (Submitted 6/24/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 13, 2006

After an injury I lost my job (for being injured) and my health insurance. Without insurance I was not able to get the care I needed to be able to return to work. Without the ability to work I was unable to pay for care or obtain insurance. I went for four years unable to get the care I needed and even now with insurance, pre-existing clauses prevent me from getting all the care I need. Lack of insurance left me unable to work for over four years. If national healthcare would have been available I could have been back to work in six months. This financially ruined our family and we would have ended up homeless if not for our extended family. (Submitted 6/21/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 12, 2006

I have over 30 years experience in the medical billing industry. The system has grown to the point where what was once done by one employee in a medical practice now takes three. Where one employee would send one claim to the insurance company to get paid, now there is another to verify, pre-certify/authorize the service, and a third to resubmit for reimbursement. Even with the best systems the insurance companies reject claims repeatedly. The only exception has been Medicare. Now my story...

I always had health insurance through my employers. Thankfully, I have worked for large practices and had my choice of PPO over HMO, also I was always able to keep my coverage between jobs thru COBRA. I am now taking care of my 85 year old mother in my home and, therefore, unable to work full-time. I hold 2 part-time jobs that allow me the flexibility I need to look after her, but no insurance coverage. I am on COBRA, but know that I will have a huge problem when the COBRA ends. There is some money to pay for my insurance if it were affordable. But my research is that no insurance company will write me an individual policy, because I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a mild form and in remission for now. But that doesn't seem to matter. What about all the years of premiums paid to the insurance companies on my behalf with no claims? Where is the insurance now that I need it?

I am 56 and have a lot of years before Medicare coverage. My mother's physical health is excellent for her age and she most likely will live for many years to come, but mentally she is unable to care for her self. If I let my insurance lapse, I will get hit with a pre-existing condition on the RA when I get coverage again. So my only choice is to find a full time job for the insurance benefits only! I will have to also hire a stranger to look after my Mom while I'm at work. It will be very difficult for her. It just doesn't make sense. I can afford insurance, but can't get it. I will not put my Mom in a home. She was in one and stayed in bed all day for lack of attention. So, in our case, even when we can afford something for insurance, the "system" won't work for us. Also, as a side note...because her supplemental insurance premiums became so high (AARP) due to her age, we switched her to Humana Gold, a Medicare HMO. Excellent coverage, but sub-standard quality of care. It has taken us over a year to find a good physician (#3) under that plan. The first two shouldn't even be in business, in my opinion (please remember, I have 30 years experience working for physicians). I pity the elderly that do not have a knowledgeable person to look out for them. (Submitted 6/21/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 11, 2006

As a single parent raising my 3 sons, even with the union health benefits I receive from my contract, I have shelled out well over $2500 dollars in expenses for my sons in the last year. No major medical problems to incur this, just standard visits. I work my **** off for my boys and this country should be ashamed at the way we treat our own people. Basic medical coverage is not a privilege; it is a RIGHT as a tax paying citizen.

Make it happen or be unemployed as a politician. It's that simple. Show us the respect we deserve for voting you in office and get it DONE!!! (Submitted 6/20/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 10, 2006

I suspect my wife and I are in the position of the vast majority of people in our age group. We are both 51 years of age. We would like to retire sooner rather than later. We have done a lot of things right, made some investments and own our home. But the one thing that is blocking us from planning that early retirement is affordable health insurance. It is absolutely shameful that the most powerful country on the face of the earth cannot provide affordable health care for its citizens when countries with far less resources have achieved it. (Submitted 6/19/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 7, 2006

I lost my husband to a motor accident about 1 1/2 years ago. (At the age of 50) He was the carrier for our insurance. So that meant that I had to go look for my own insurance after being with a good insurance company all my life. He was an Iowa State Employee. Before my husband’s death, I was experiencing chest pains. (I had lost several family and friends to death in the short span and I contributed to stress related.) But the doctor ran all types of test to rule out the heart, which he did because all tests came back normal. After my husband’s death, I had gone back to the doctor for depression and I also had slightly elevated blood pressure and nothing that call for medication. But, because of these visits and I had to find my own insurance. I was considered "pre-existing" and was refused insurance. I was able to find an insurance company that would cover me but I pay almost $500 a month for insurance and on my salary I'm running out of money.

My husband and I have always taken care of ourselves and never asked for handouts. Matter of fact, I'm a Donor volunteer, Red Cross volunteer and other volunteer organizations. I would rather give then take! I do have a good job but they don’t pay for insurance benefits. A large plant is closing and jobs aren’t out there right now. So, because of the expense of insurance, I'm finding myself having to now ask for help! I don't understand why the government wants people like me to use up all their money, then to have to go on welfare. I’ve even had to stop my 401 K plan so I can use it for insurance money. It doesn't make since. I want to help myself and pay for myself through out my life. But without affordable insurance I'm afraid this isn't going to happy much longer. Thank you for listening. (Submitted 6/14/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 6, 2006

My son is working but at very little income. He is 24 and my daughter-in-law is not able to work because she is in the last month of pregnancy. Her pregnancy is being covered by Medicaid and she is not getting the best care and can't find a pediatrician for the baby when it comes; they don't take Medicaid or "are full." My son gets sick and he doesn't go to the doctor since he doesn't have insurance. The ER rooms are "full" with people with no insurance and their illness is not an emergency.... (Submitted 6/14/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 5, 2006

In the last week out of the blue, I was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma/plasma cell leukemia. It has been a staggering blow and any money cut from the budget will have a devastating effect on people like me, who through no fault of our own end up with what could be a death sentence. The cost of thalidomide treatment for 28 days is $4,300 - a staggering sum which may not be covered. And it is difficult to get a pharmacy to stock it because of the cost. I offer my comments as practical experience not as theory. Our Delaware state retirees prescription coverage will change in July to Medco. Who knows what the future will bring? Do I die because I'm not wealthy? Will Medco cover the cost? It's a frightening prospect and one that lawmakers and especially President Bush should think about. The average person suffering and trying to make his/her way through the health care mess is this country. (Submitted 6/15/06)

icon - man speakingJuly 3, 2006

I have paid for health insurance for forty one years. During the first three decades I rarely used it. Now that I need it I have to pay over $700 per month 'co-pay' to get heart, arthritis, and dermatology medicines. (That would be if I used my insurance, fortunately, I can use my wife's. But that means that what I pay for is worthless.) I am concerned that, with the way things are going, I will be broke after I retire with a decent retirement income. I teach sociology at a college and have noted to my students for many years that the U.S.A. is the only western country that allows its citizens to be devastated by health care costs. There seems to be a shared naive belief that it won't happen to me. Or even worse, there seems to be a worse belief that those who are devastated by catastrophic health care maybe weren't right with God. (Submitted 6/15/06)

Read previous Shared Experiences from:
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006.


We respect your privacy. All comments will be displayed anonymously.