My move to Florida was an interesting one. Twenty-two years ago, my husband was interviewing for promotions. He had been advised that if he were to advance in his company that he would need to move. We literally looked at a map and chose a radius for how far we were willing to move. Tampa, was at the edge of our distance.
During his interview process, we discovered that I was pregnant. We were hoping to start a family after the move, but life works in mysterious ways and our little miracle happened sooner than expected. In August, just as the school year was starting, John got an offer to move to Tampa and we began making plans. We went to look for a place to live and signed a contract with a realtor to sell our home.
John left for Tampa on Labor Day weekend 1995. I stayed in North Carolina. It was brutal. I was young, pregnant, and wanted to be with my husband. However, because we were young and quite honestly poor at the time, John and I had each chose to have our medical insurance with our employers. John was not changing companies, only positions, so if I left my job, I could not be insured. I had a preexisting condition, my pregnancy. I had to remain in North Carolina until open enrollment in January. I worked until the start of the winter holidays, moved on Christmas Eve, and officially resigned on December 31 so I would remain insured until January 1. My baby was born just eight weeks after I arrived. I spent most of my pregnancy away from my husband and barely had enough time to meet the doctor who delivered my baby.
With all of the talk of preexisting conditions in the news, I thought I would share my story. Since then, I have always stayed on my husband’s insurance, not wanting to risk being separated again. I thought then that it was ridiculous that I had to wait. Bureaucratic red tape kept our family apart and made what should have been a happy time more difficult. Because of the late term move, I was deemed a high-risk pregnancy and there were challenge’s with Will’s birth.
There was a reason why most people liked the preexisting conditions aspect of ACA coverage. When we look at what conditions can be deemed preexisting now, it can be frightening because while coverage is still guaranteed, the cost can be raised.
I don’t know the answer. I don’t pretend to know the answer. I know that what we have now isn’t working for everyone. We are lucky now. My doctors are constantly pointing out to me that I have a “Cadillac” insurance plan. Twenty-two years ago, my husband and I were both hard working, and a move that we were making to better our finances could have been detrimental to us. Luckily, I had a good friend that let me move in with her when my house sold so we didn’t have to try to have two mortgage/rent payments while trying to maintain health insurance. My point is, we weren’t people who were lazy or trying to avoid healthcare cost. There are a lot of people in working circumstances like us that have to make tough choices to provide healthcare. I think of that baby I had nearly 22 years ago, being almost at the place we were then. I hope it doesn’t have to be so hard for him. It just seems that it shouldn’t be so hard.