Dear Insurance Company,
I read the letter that came last night. I saw the six single-spaced pages of documentation that was clearly written by a lawyer with my daughter’s name automatically inserted into the form. I can see the word “denied” at least four times in the first few paragraphs. I understand what you are saying.
I spoke to the people on your end. I know that the woman who answered the phone is just doing her job. I appreciated that when I told her I was a single mom who couldn’t pay (many) tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket, she put me on hold to try and find an alternate solution. I love that she was kind. But she did not even remotely solve my problem.
You see, my daughter needs this medicine. She needs it because otherwise we’ll go have to keep going back to hospitals to see different doctors and specialists. I do not do well in hospitals. Worse, our closest hospital is the one where I fell to the ground, a little over two years ago, and wept on the floor of the emergency room when I knew – really knew – that my husband was going to die. So when I have to go back to that hospital, or really any hospital, all I see is that corner room where my husband laid on a cot, drugged by morphine.
She needs this medicine, because she’s going into middle school, and I am already worried about a thousand other things. What will happen when she’s pulled from the safety of an elementary school where everyone knows our family and is thoughtful about how to talk to my child about our story, and is thrown into a school where kids might not be so kind? I know there will be unhappy moments in middle school. Why must she also deal with a medical issue? Especially if there’s a drug that might be able to relieve many of the symptoms caused by her allergies.
She needs this medicine because – dammit – haven’t we been through enough? I’ve already had to figure out how to navigate the health insurance system. I’ve already become a single mom who is totally in charge of three kids. I’ve already had to pay bills for Shawn months after his death. Isn’t that enough for one person? Isn’t that enough for one family?
I know the medicine is expensive. But I just googled your CEO and last year he made twenty million dollars. One man. In one year. I mean, I’m not going to say the health care system is totally and utterly broken in America, but….maybe he could put aside some pocket change and cover this medicine for a 10-year-old girl with an infectious laugh and a great smile? My daughter just has to take it for a few months, and then it’s done. I did the math and it would be only 0.15% of his salary for one year. He wouldn’t even miss it!
Listen, I’ve been on the phone with your representative for over an hour at this point. I’ve written most of this letter while I’ve been on hold. The representative says your insurance company doesn’t have the right paperwork. She says they never got it from the doctor, even though I know that the doctor sent it, as I have a copy. “Maybe it was lost?” the representative says in a hopeful voice.
Maybe your company has this paperwork and maybe you don’t, but something makes me think that the doctor – the one who teared up when she heard our family’s story, the one who said, “I’m going to help you” directly to my daughter, the one who has devoted her life to children and their health – something makes me think that it’s not her fault that you are denying us. I don’t know how much my child’s doctor makes, but I know it’s not twenty million dollars.
So, really, is it too much to ask you to cover this medicine? I know we haven’t spoken before. I know you don’t know me, because until recently I was on my husband’s insurance and he dealt with these sorts of problems. But he’s gone forever from this earth, and now it’s just me taking this call.
I’ve called you twice today and now I’ve filed a complaint. I’m working with my daughter’s doctor to resubmit all the things that were already submitted two other times. I get that these things are complicated and that everything takes time.
But I’ve had it. I don’t make twenty million dollars each year because I teach high school and so far, the market hasn’t allowed for teachers – or doctors – to get paid like that. But doesn’t it make sense to cover this medicine for a kid who’s already been through so much? “I wish I could help you” says everyone, but hey, health insurance company, here’s a way you can help a family that’s already dealt with enough medical heartbreak for a lifetime.
I’m asking you one thing. Or maybe it’s that I’m demanding one thing:
Cover the medicine, dammit.
Image Credit: Stefanie Harrington Photography.