When I made the decision to quit my job in Los Angeles and relocate to the Midwest, I knew certain things wouldn’t be easy. Since starting work after college, I hadn’t given much thought to what it actually takes to get medical insurance coverage, since I was always eligible for the group plan at the company for which I worked.

I’ve made no secret on here of the fact that I struggle with anxiety, and sometimes a bit of depression. I was diagnosed in college and have spent a lot of years working with some great health care professionals to the point that I’m not constantly in therapy any more and my medication is simple and consistent. For the most part I don’t wake up every day (or go to bed every night) really even thinking that I have a problem.

But try and apply for individual medical insurance these days, and it’s a problem. When I quit my job in January I immediately went to apply for coverage at a large, well-known insurance company, which promised great individual coverage. Now I’m a moderately fit young woman. I fit into my weight percentile, I exercise a little (ok not enough, but I have no physical limitations), my blood pressure is normal and I don’t smoke, use illegal substances or drink to excess. I’m young and healthy and you would think that I’d be an insurance company’s dream.

But I knew it the minute I hit that part of the application: “Have you ever been treated for mental illness? If yes, please give us some additional information.” My application came back denied. No rider, no offers of a different plan, nothing. DENIED.

It was then I learned why so much of America is not insured. It doesn’t matter if you have money to pay the premiums (which is saying a lot since the premiums are VERY high). It doesn’t matter if you’re sick and need treatment and are willing to pay extra for that – in fact, it makes you worse off. You just can’t get covered.

Now don’t go thinking that I’ve not been covered by insurance for the last 6 months. I went ahead and enrolled in what I could: a catastrophic policy through my alumni association. It won’t cover anything, unless I fall victim to a bus crash or a magician’s slicing trick that goes awry, but I’m covered. Sort of.

But that policy is now coming to an end, and I find myself in a weird place again. I have no permanent employment yet, and though I’m getting married next month and the coverage on my fiance’s insurance could be retroactive, it would appear I have a few months before I can reliably give a sigh of relief at being covered again.

So today I filled out another application for health coverage. I filled out the application completely, even though I know that the section on Mental Illness is once again going to be my doom. So here I sit, waiting again to be denied.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. e
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 18:51:00

    I hate the insurance agencies. I had the same problem, only because I have back problems. I applied at 2 large insurers and got denied. And now, because I saw a therapist earlier in the year, I have panic disorder on my record too. So I’m screwed if I’m ever without a regular job. There are options out there, but they’re a lot like the Alumni option, they cover emergencies and that’s it. It sucks, and it pisses me off. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with it…


  2. PlazaJen
    Jul 24, 2008 @ 01:46:00

    Boy, things like this just enrage me. At least you will have coverage, soon – and I guess I’m surprised that you got denied the first time if you had been insured within a time frame before applying for new insurance. (Sorry, my brain is kinda fried, but there’s that law that won’t allow them to use “pre-existing condition” if you’ve already been covered and treated before.) I think we’ll ultimately reach a breaking point in this country, because health care can’t be run as a for-profit business and still be accessible for all. Makes me so mad, how selfish we are with so much that we have and yet so many are without.


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