Doing the "Right" Thing -- Health Care Question

Updated on February 16, 2012
☆.A. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
11 answers

I've posted before about my friend & coworker of 25+ years who was diagnosed last Nov. with leukemia.
She has paid for health care for over 25 years for herself, her sons, and her husband (he is self-employed).
Now that she is seriously ill and it is approaching the 6 month mark (will be in May), her benefits are being terminated as is her job.
She is looking at a stem cell transplant in approx one year.
She has been told to apply for long term SS disability benefits.
What about her husband and her two kids (teenagers, a senior and a sophomore)?
How is this fair?
This is a FT working employee that has carried the health care benefits for her family for a quarter century.
They are not "rich" by any stretch. They are a typical family of 4.
Has anyone been through this?
How will this affect her future health care coverage?

This makes me sick. It seems so unfair.
This family has done everything "right" all of their lives.
Why pay for health care when it is taken away if you become seriously ill?
Isn't this another reason why health care would be better if it were not employer-based?

Has anyone been through this?
Any advice for her & her family?
I've already given them information on the state healthcare for the teenagers...and I suggested they talk to the social worker at the doctor's office, because I'm sure people go through this every day.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Victoria---YES! She just found out this morning that her LTD will be in effect for 18 months.
What a relief!
Thanks for the great information....

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answers from Jacksonville on

Is she going to find another job? I think that if she did, the group coverage would pick up where her old coverage left off.

My mom worked for a plant for 8 years, then the plant shut down. They gave her the option, find another job, or go to school. She chose to go to school because this was the second time a plant shutting down cost her a job, and she didn't want it to happen again. Not even two months later, she found out she had breast cancer. Luckily she qualified for Medicaid, but just barely.
So her treatment is being covered.

This is why I get so mad when people bash everyone on Medicaid and Medicare. My mother worked for 30 years full time, paid all of her taxes, paid for health care the entire time she worked. But you know I guess none of that matters. People just want to scream about her being a "free loader"

I would have them contact Medicaid, and see if they qualify.

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

I have not been through this, Denise, though I have watched it happen time and again. It is truly heartbreaking and humbling.

I think it is common for us (as humans) to take credit for our blessings. Instead of understanding that we are fortunate and lucky, we feel as though our 'success' or stability is only the result of our own making. While that may be partially true in many cases, so much of what we reap is *also* a matter of circumstance and chance.

I philosophically and spiritually believe in equality and in supporting human rights. This is, for me, a deeply important priority. I don't have any advice, just hugs and prayers.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If she qualifies for SS disability benefits, she will also qualify for medicare benefits. Also, check with the state to see if there are any programs for people with pre-existing health conditions. I am insured through a program in Illinois that is a high-risk insurance pool. It isn't cheap, but I was able to get coverage even with a pre-existing condition. Unfortunately, her husband will have to purchase insurance for himself and their children.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

This is why tax law should have never slept with health care. It had a very ugly baby which is employer sponsored health insurance. :(

There is COBRA for I think a year. Crazy expensive but not as expensive as her health care costs. :(

If that doesn't work she can try speaking with the hospital she is working with. Most major hospitals have funds set up and they tend to have higher earning thresholds than the government because it is private donors.


Fundraisers? I know my parish would throw anything to help out someone in the parish who was going through what your friend is going through.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I guess the question would be: why is her job being terminated? Has she received warnings on this & is it fully documented? She does have some protection thru labor laws...if the employer is basing her termination over her illness.

That said, if paying the insurance thru Cobra is not an option....then SS is the only other choice that I know of.

I understand your thoughts, opinions, & concerns. Our health insurance premium + copays are now at the $1000 mark each month. It is killing our budget, & seriously affecting our daily living. My DH has supplemental insurance which we pay for....& that monthly income = our medical insurance premium which we have to pay should he be out of work due to illness/accident. Totally sucks! I hate that the supplemental doesn't even cover our house payment!

I applaud you for wanting to help your friend. She & her family will need all the help they can get...& emotional support is sometimes a God's send! Kudos to you.....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I believe she can probably file for "cobra" health benefits from her job. It is very expensive but she can remain insured for another 18 months. If she is looking at a stem cell transplant, she should try to stay insured. I would also check on the specific healthcare policy and see if it covers stem cell transplants and for what conditions before I paid for it for 18 months. She might also look for other insurance. When I took my daughter off my insurance at work (she had been employed after college), they sent me an insurability statement that would enable her to get coverage within 6 months. This would be helpful because otherwise she might be uninsurable with this preexisting condition.
Most doctors offices do not have social workers, but the hospital where she has been treated may be able to help her. She might also check with the national organizations for Leukemia for support groups that might have ideas on resources.

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answers from Dallas on

It sounds like she did not have long term disability on her insurance. Very unfortunate situation! Do you know why she is being terminated? That might have bearing on the reason.

Yea! So glad to hear that!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

This is such a sad and unfair situation. It is everything that is wrong with healthcare in our country and hopefully if situations like this are publicized enough people will get the message. I don't understand when people say they don't want the government controlling their healthcare. Would you rather have for-profit insurance companies deciding what procedures you can and cannot have? Will you refuse social security and medicare when you are of age? It boggles my mind. I hope we all remember situations like these when we vote.

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answers from Washington DC on

COBRA. it's not cheap. But it keeps her covered.

Life isn't fair.

I'm sorry your friend is going through this. It sucks. My girlfriend died at 43 of Leukemia. I miss her every day. She didn't have health insurance. She went to St. Jude's and they did their best to make her well.

ETA: There were numerous blood drives and fundraisers done by her community and church. They helped out with finances when she couldn't work anymore as well.

I know that I DO NOT want the Government running my health care.

Can you help her out financially? ETA: yes. I did help out my girlfriend financially - so I'm not being rude.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

This happened to my parents in 2000. My father was diagnosed with terminal small cell cancer and his health insurance company (Aetna) dumped him two months later. He fought, they collected what they could, but they ended up having to file bankruptcy 18mos later and my mom was left with nothing. Wonderful people, who worked hard their wholes lives, teaching six kids to work hard and always do the right thing. It happens. And it sucks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Oh, I'm so terribly sorry to hear that. Was she let go of her job because she's ill? And you are completely right, it's not fair. Not in the slightest. But I'm in the camp that feels that access to healthcare is a human right and a human necessity. So you have no arguments from me on that O.. I don't know anyone who has gone through this personally, but I will certainly keep your friend in my prayers.

1 mom found this helpful
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