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This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Jun 27

Posted by: ACHA
6/27/2012 9:19 AM  RssIcon

By Clare Almand

I’m not saying that I want the world to end on December 21, 2012, the last day of the Mayan calendar. I’m saying that should I live to see December 22, I will be living to my 26th birthday—also known as my last day with health insurance.

This is not a political essay, but I owe a wealth of gratitude to Obamacare. The new healthcare plan is the reason that I was able to quit a government job that was slowly crushing my soul, get on my parents’ insurance, and try my best to use this amazing one-year gift to break into the entertainment industry. And you know what?

I did it.

The unpaid internship I took at a TV production company in New York City turned into a paying job. But there’s a catch. They took me on as a freelancer because they needed extra help, so my job could end suddenly if they decide they don’t need me anymore. Also, I have no benefits whatsoever.

So the realization that my half birthday occurred a few days ago felt more like a warning: You have six months left to figure something out.

They are limited, but I do have some options. There’s COBRA, which I know has been really helpful to people who are out of work or just finished school. While it looks like the best option immediately following the drop, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to benefit from it. Most people in the entertainment industry get health coverage through unions like the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, etc. But guilds have requirements for joining that I may or may not meet by the end of this year.

There’s a third option that I’ve been considering: marriage. Just kidding. But seriously, think about how much easier that would be! So if you think you’d be interested in an intelligent young woman with a really bad heart, you can leave your e-mail in the comment section. I don’t really want to marry a stranger in a suit because he’s got Blue Cross Blue Shield, but I also don’t want to pay for my next ICD out of pocket. I cannot afford a $20,000 battery.

So let me ask you CHD community: How are you paying your medical expenses? Where is your health coverage coming from? Do you know any single men with scar and/or robot fetishes?

Clare Almand was born with Shone’s syndrome and has undergone a repair for coarctation of the aorta, multiple atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect repairs, aortic valve replacement and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation. She has a B.A. in Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing from James Madison University. Clare pushes paper during the day and writes screenplays in her spare time. 

Tags: Clare Almand
Location: Blogs Parent Separator ACHA Blog

15 comment(s) so far...


Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Seriously? You know how you pay for your medical get or stay at a job that has them. I am all for helping those in need but at 25 years old you don't get to quit a job just because you don't like it and take an internship. I have a congenital defect also and would never be so callous as to go without insurance if it was beyond my control. Leaving, not loosing, your job is within your control.

By Deb Ouellette on   6/27/2012 10:20 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

I always joked that I'd "cross someone off the list" if they didn't have good insurance. Then I married a man who is self-employed. :-)

For the time being, I'm working for a place with insurance benefits. Someday, I'd like to be a "stay a home mom" but for now the big insurance question is what we haven't figured out yet.

By Debra on   6/27/2012 10:40 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

I am a CHD & am turning 40 end of this summer, currently living with my boyfriend. What worries us about getting married is that his health insurance will jump sky high. How fair is that?

It's so frusterating having a CHD and dealing with health insurance. 12 Years ago I left a nanny job to work at a child care center to get good health ins. I didn't know at the time how vital that decision was as a couple years into my job I had my 3rd open heart surgery.
I stayed 11yrs with that job, the last 2 of which I was physcally exhausted.
I did leave that job to go back to nannying & got my own ins. It's not great insurance, but it's something. (My employers pay about half of it in cash.)

Ever since I left home (my early 20's), I have paid for my own health ins. I've paid all my medical expenses, bills, perscriptions or anything like that. It's not fun and not easy with the income of working in the child care industry. But, I am alive, have my health, & support from friends, family, and my boyfriend who had no worries, doubts, or anything when I 1st told him about my health history.

Ps, I was 18 when I had to get off of my parents health ins. So young isn't it?

By ann cobb on   6/27/2012 10:49 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Deb, I think you missed the point. This article was a little more tongue and cheek than what you interpreted. Perhaps your reaction was more politically motivated. I don't think Clare was looking for a hand-out. Nor would she ever have to with strong family support. I am part of that family. But, it is a legitimate concern for so many. And maybe that was the point she was making. And, one more thing. Leaving an extremely stressful job to "follow your dream" is to be commended, especially when one does not know what the future holds, or even how long it will be.

By Cindy on   6/27/2012 11:02 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

I'm a CHD, and totally understand your frustration. God was good to me in several respects: first, I had parents willing to pay for insurance through college and 2 years of grad school. Then, I got married with one semester of grad school left. Being married, I could no longer stay on my parent's plan. But because my spouse’s job didn't let us on a health plan for 6 months, I had to find another option. My parent's insurance was not COBRA eligible because it came from my dad’s small business. So, I turned to portability insurance, which is like a COBRA alternative. You could only get it if you didn't have a lapse in time from when you left your previous policy. I obtained it through BCBS. It was horribly expensive (around $450/mo and rising), but they had to cover pre-existing conditions. I learned about it through a local health insurance broker. So, always consider finding someone like that to discuss your best options.

And now for a little pontificating: Bottom line, CHD's like us are never going to make a profit for a health insurance company. So what? The point of insurance is that everyone can put in the same amount of money and know that if disaster strikes, you're life isn't over. The difficulty with having a congenital problem is that society knows ahead of time we're going to cost more, and is tempted to make us pay extra costs for it.

So here's what we want: Just like healthy people who happened to be born with no congenital problem, we should have access to reasonably affordable care, and like healthy people, we shouldn't have to sacrifice our life's calling because the system, for no reason but an historical fluke, made health insurance cheaper through large employers. If society is okay with forcing insurance companies to care for us when we work for a Fortune 500 company or government agency, it should be okay with us paying the same premiums and copays even though we're artists or self-employed. That would be justice.

By Mark on   6/27/2012 2:06 PM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Young Lady please don't marry for health ins. i am disabled with transposition of the great vesel and also have an icd. you are way too pretty to marry someone just for there ins. please don't do that please you have to love that person you marry

By Peter on   6/28/2012 7:56 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Hilarious! As a 29 year old (newlywed) with CHD, the title of your blog post made me laugh out loud. It hits close to home. I have to make sure my job stays within th realm of "big companies with health insurance plans", something my parents reminded me of in my early 20's. It's a tough issue, but it's always good to be grateful that at least I have some help with the expenses living in this country.

By Aimee on   6/28/2012 7:57 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Im in the same boat as you. Im 26 and have no health insurance.
Three years ago I graduated from college and have only worked part time since. I wish I had had a government job like you said you quit.
Im on Medicaid but that will not cover me going to certain out of state doctors (I live in the small state of Delaware - Im not allowed to go to University of Penn).
My boyfriend of 5 year and I would love to get married but his insurance its that great (its fine for someone with no health problem) and it would be super expensive if we were married and I needed something done (I will need another surgery some time in the future). We cant get married and I would have to have kids before this surgery.
I would do just about anything for a state or federal job so I could have insurance.

By Hilary on   6/28/2012 7:57 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Clare, you are so brave.
You followed your heart, and chose to live a life that enriches your soul. You've left the comfort zone of your home town (which is also my home town) and moved into the unknown of an enormous metropolis. I actually made the same move when I was only a little older than you are now. What a reality check that was—and I don't have CHD.
IMO you are A CATCH to an employer or a future partner. But a girl like you doesn't need to marry to keep you heart going ;-)

Clare, with your heart and soul, you probably have more options than you know. Now that the ACA stands on firm constitutional ground, I hope that opens a new avenue for you to follow you heart.

BTW: There are employers out there who understand the importance of a great catch. They invest their time and money in training and bringing them up to speed in the business, they invest in their well being by providing a place for them to grow and contribute and they invest in their long term health by providing PTO and insurance. It's a long term investment in their business. I am fortunate enough to work for one of them now back here in Virginia. But they exist elsewhere, though perhaps they are few and far between. Those businesses succeed because their employees are happy, healthy and productive. They would be lucky to have you.
Fondly, Lisa

By Lisa D on   6/28/2012 4:10 PM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

I found Clare's blog, as it always is, refreshing, real and full of a healthy does of humor! I don't think that it is a coincidence that I amr eading on the very day the Supreme Court of the land upholds Obama's health plan which made it posssible for Clare to follow her dream to NYC. Clare, keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your reflections!

By kate on   6/29/2012 7:40 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance are such a wonderful writer and a terrific , funny, caring person. Proud you are part of my family. There are millions of people with pre- exisiting conditions and they can not all get state, federal or fortune 500 jobs Nor should they be forced to stay in one. Think of so many talented, creative people the world might have not experienced, if they had taken that path because of a pre- existing condition. It is about balance, caring, and being open minded. The world is changing and it is time that we get off the greed wagon and start thinking about what is good for all . For there by the grace of God go any of us at anytime.

By Diana on   6/29/2012 7:41 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

Sometimes I joke that my husband married me for my sweet, sweet health insurance. It recently occurred to me that if the provision of the Affordable Care Act that protected patients with pre-existing conditions was dropped, we could never move out of Massachusetts.

By Meghann on   7/2/2012 2:16 PM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

LOL. Wish you the best. :up:

By Edward on   7/12/2012 12:52 PM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

It's definitely easy to take for granted being under your parents insurance policy. As a CHD kid, we don't have to deal with that aspect of our health problems. Then all of a sudden we hit a certain age and suddenly it's all on us. While I certainly will always have my family's support along the way, I am still mainly responsible for the financial part as well. Luckily I have a job at a fortune 500 company that I actually enjoy and gives me good health benefits. Sadly even having more than decent health insurance doesn't make me immune to my share of problems, that more often than not arise at the fault of the health care provider or the insurance company. We will always have to tie up their loose ends. I go to U @ Penn in philly where unfortunately my insurance only covers 80% of check-ups, ekgs, echos, MRIs or operations and EVERYTHING in between, so I still have to come out of pocket quite a bit, but luckily there are reasonable payment options that cushion the blow. I feel for you Clare and wish you the best :)

By Melissa N. Medina on   7/16/2012 7:59 AM

Re: This CHD Patient Will Marry You For Your Health Insurance

My parent's could not get health insurance when I was born basically because pre-existing CHD. So I knew when I got older to find a job with really good healthcare and extremely staple company. The really staple company's are in healthcare. All my healthcare is basically free except $5 copay and prescription.

By Mary on   7/23/2012 7:54 AM

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