Thursday, January 5, 2012


Well, I don’t know where to start; I just keep telling myself, “God will provide.”

So, our new health insurance changes just went into effect. I keep telling myselfBefore signing up, we read every bit of the literature. Further, although there were fewer openings with the insurance coordinator than teachers in Eileen’s school, Eileen made sure she got an appointment. Eileen explained to the coordinator that I take an expensive cancer drug and checked with him to make sure that we selected the right option. So, we thought/think we had/have the best option.

One of the changes in our insurance plan this year is that we have a Health Savings Plan instead of a Health Reimbursement Plan. While preparing to link the plan to my Gleevec payments I made a startling discovery. Instead of having to pay $25.00 for my Gleevec in January, I am being charged $5,253.22. What’s more is that I have to pay that each month until I reach $18,000 in around four months (for this year). That certainly is not what we understood the health plan to be and we were shocked. Eileen is the plan holder and she talked to no less than seven representatives from the insurance company before someone could explain what the plan said verses what it is interpreted to be. Even at that, the final person had to talk to a “specialist” to get her answer.

It’s twelve years until I turn 65. If the costs don’t go up, which they will, that means we would need to come up with $216,000 over these next twelve years just for my one medication. At what point does a person just not take the stuff and let death come? At 9:28 pm, I sent Dr. Tan an email explaining the situation and I asked him if there is a less expensive alternative. I also asked about stopping Gleevec for a while. Ten minutes later he emailed me back with a bit of a tirade about insurance companies and bought-off politicians in Washington. He said Tonisha from his office will call me tomorrow. However, he said there aren’t any cheaper alternatives and I need to take the chemo.

Eileen has a co-worker who has gone through her family’s savings trying to fight cancer. These stories are all too familiar. I hope those getting super rich off the sick are enjoying themselves. If I didn’t have insurance, my chemo bill would be $72,000 per year. How is the average person supposed to pay $18,000 or $72,000 per year for medication?

Then, there are all the changes in insurance coverage that people have been enduring these past two years. We can all thank ObamaCare for a lot of the changes. Most of the politicians who voted for it didn’t even read it. Famously, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it.” Well, we’re seeing what’s in it and it isn’t good from my vantage point.

So, in discussing this with Eileen, I’ve agreed to take the Gleevec this year. I really dislike the idea of spending everything we have over however many years I might live and then die…leaving Eileen behind having spent everything on me. I’d rather die sooner and leave her something to live on than later with nothing. Eileen doesn’t see it that way. She’d rather be penniless and have me around. I would feel the same way about her but I can make it on nothing. I don’t want her to have to. Well, I plan on being around for at least this next year. That’s more than a lot of people can say. In the meantime, I’ll just keep telling myself, “God will provide.”


  1. Just getting caught up on your posts. It was like dejavu all over again. When Paul was told he had a brain tumor we were ignorant and broke! However, we had insurance. Then, after the brain surgery, found that the insurance company was really a trust ACTING as an insurance company. It went bankrupt. The insurance commissioner said its office had no standing with a trust. I was sick. Fortunately, most all of our docs wrote off a lot of our bill. Thinking back I don't know how I didn't drive my car off the Bay Bridge except that I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old. It changed my life forever. Now I am on the Healthcare side of the fence. It's difficult to watch what families go through because of probably many of the same things Dr. Tan spouted about. It took us years to recover but I think we never really forget that helpless feeling. I have no words of wisdom only prayers. Let's stay in touch.

  2. Thanks Ann. You had a great perspective from a bad situation. I'm sure we'll come through it too. Thank you for the prayers.