We rely on our health insurance for everything. Before I met Will and became his means to access insurance -- he is insured through my work -- I never paid much attention to it. Now, if there's any trouble with insurance, it is consuming. Currently we have a great situation -- all of Will's doctors and hospitals are in our network and the pharmacy covers many (most, really) of his medications to some extent. (And Will's parents generously help with deductibles and costs for what isn't covered.) In the past few weeks we found out that our company's health insurance costs are expected to increase by over 30% next year. Over 30%. We're a 35 person company and, basically, can't afford this -- especially as it comes on top of double-digit insurance cost increases each year for at least the past 3 years. So, we really are going to have to look seriously at reducing benefits and/or changing or reducing choice in insurance plans. I understand that these difficult choices are necessary from a company perspective but, for my family it is, in a word, terrifying. Really -- like, I start to get tunnel vision and have to close my eyes and breath deeply whenever I start to think about it. Let alone the guilt I feel because certainly Will's claims and needs are -- in part at least, and maybe in large part -- driving some of this increase. We heard from our current insurance pool coordinator that our increases are due in part to "heavy use." (Of course, we've also had at least 5 pregnancies across the staff in 2 years (including my pregnancy with Liam) and at least 2 people with cancers (including Will), so I guess that all counts too.)
I wish I knew what to ask people to do to "fix" the insurance problem in this country. I have been listening to some NPR stories comparing US insurance approaches with those in other countries and I recommend them as enlightening and thoughtful, but I don't really know what action every-day people can take to cause change to happen. All the normal stuff -- write your elected officials, consider this issue when you vote, get involved locally. Mostly, stay healthy if you can.