Happy 3rd Cancerversary

It was three years ago yesterday that I was first diagnosed with cancer. Odd to think back on that time and how difference my life was then.

I had just signed the Rhodes College contract and was excited to get there and start working. It felt like real chance and I went there with the idea that I’d never leave. I embraced Memphis and Rhodes with the long term, deeply invested engagement of the seriously committed.

I had to wait awhile when I first got there for my insurance to kick in. Knowing I had cancer, that it wasn’t being treated, and that I was waiting for insurance to kick in so that I wouldn’t bankrupt myself or my mother, was a secret I held from my employer. I asked anonymous questions in new faculty sessions about chronic illness and personal spending account maximums.

Three years later I’m still on the delicate precipice of insurance. Just today I had to redo my Healthcare.gov process due to a sudden change in my monthly premium. It turned out that the change was due to my own failure to upload my latest W-2 from the work I did last year. Based on that, my premium will actually go down for the rest of the year.

Unless I can make some money this fall, I won’t be eligible to keep the marketplace plan next year, even if I have savings to pay the premium. Basically, by the end of the year, I’ll be forced onto the state medicaid analog.

What’s crazy is how every small change in my insurance is terrifying. There are so many storied about people being bankrupted by surprise expenses. Every time I use the insurance, I’m worried that I’ll miss something and get charged thousands. Every time there is a change to my plan, I worry that the details will have changed and I’ll get stuck with some unknown charge.

Today I wept on the phone with the healthcare.gov customer service rep as she walked me through the process.