This topic gets me pretty fired up. I’ll be the first to admit that the Affordable Care Act is confusing and not perfect. Fortunately, I’ve never had to purchase insurance through the ACA marketplace, but I’ve liked knowing it’s there — even before my child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I liked it even before I knew that a vial of a hormone called insulin that LITERALLY keeps my daughter alive costs $300 out of pocket. There are 100 units in the vial. Lily requires anywhere from 7-12 units of insulin a day. You do the math. We go through a lot of this stuff (and her needs will increase as she grows bigger, eats more, etc). We also need up to 10 test strips a day to check her blood sugar, pump supplies that we change out every two days, back-up syringes, emergency glucagon to rescue her from a low blood sugar seizure or unconsciousness, and the list goes on. If my husband lost his job our insurance would go with it and we would blow through our savings in a matter of months just trying to keep our daughter alive. BUT, there is another option, we could apply for insurance and get coverage through the ACA and be covered immediately, vs. waiting up to 90 days for a plan to kick in (if we were lucky enough to find a new job with coverage). And I haven’t even touched on the topic of pre-existing conditions, which throws a wrench in all of this.
Now imagine being a young adult trying to navigate this on your own and keep yourself alive. It breaks my heart to think of Lily at age 25 trying to decide between a job she loves that doesn’t offer insurance, or a job that she doesn’t like but offers her insurance. Or what if she gets kicked off our plan at 18 and can’t get insurance because of her pre-existing condition? What do we do then? If you are a doubter or a hater of socialized healthcare, PLEASE listen to this podcast to give you some perspective of the struggles people living with chronic illness face when trying to get the medical coverage they need to SURVIVE. The people interviewed here are gainfully employed, intelligent, and living with type 1 diabetes. They rely on the ACA to stay alive. It allows them to not be forced to choose between insulin and food, or insulin and a car payment.