“I was the ‘burden’ on the policy”: Carolyn’s Story

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My husband and I delivered two premature babies (25 weeks and 6 days, 700 and 800 grams each). They were Baby A and Baby B for a while, as we were unsure of their permanence in this world. They were delivered in Japan and were in the hospital a long time.  We are American, so we were on my husband's healthcare, not the national Japanese health care system.  Reading about your beautiful daughter brought back so many memories both good (feisty) and horror: Do I really have to file the Japanese birth certificate within one week of birth if they are not going to live?  Seems like cruel punishment.

But what it made me remember most what I WAS grateful for was the incredible way the Japanese never asked about insurance and just gave our daughters the best care possible.

When it was all said and done, they were a lot more than 1 million dollar babies, and the costs far exceeded the policy limits. The head of my husband’s division just made sure it was paid. No questions asked. No benefits changed.  That is how it should have been in your case, as opposed to the tragically insensitive actions and words of Mr. Armstrong, or similarly, those of one of my former employers.  

I was very close with my employer, they were like family.  I loved my job and I felt they very much supported and respected me.  However, when I was 28 with a highly unusual case of uterine cancer, I was insensitively told that we had to switch insurance carriers due to my "burden" on the policy.  It was stated with little understanding of the tremendous angst, embarrassment and shame that was placed on me for being the “burden”. 

Cancer, premature babies, as you say, is this not why we have health insurance?  It should not just be so employers can say they have it as a benefit.  It should be for your daughter, for me, for my children, who without their "feistiness” and courage, also would never have been here to take their first steps.

THANK YOU for speaking for the rest of us who have remained silent for SO many years.

-Carolyn