Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot dogs and health care

Happy 4th of July! As a side note, I was up in Vancouver, BC, over the weekend (which happened to coincide with Canada Day) so I feel like I'm double dipping in Independence Days. Oh well, fine by me. Let the BBQs begin!

I also wanted to throw a little belated celebration for the Supreme Court's recent upholding of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Politics aside, if more and more young people continue to develop melanoma (as trends suggest), then it is essential we have insurance so that we can detect malignancies as early as possible and treat them.

A little story of my own: A year or so after I graduated from college, I was working lots of lots of different temp jobs. I also decided to do a third unpaid internship, hoping I would be able to leverage my experience into a paid position--with benefits. Graduating from college in 2008, as you might imagine, made it difficult to find a job. Finding a job with health benefits and a retirement package? That was even harder. In the meantime, I was kicked off of my parent's insurance plan. I tried to secure my own coverage from several different companies, but was rejected everywhere I applied (not unlike the job market, eh?) I ended up being offered a COBRA-like insurance plan with a monthly premium of $330. I had a difficult decision to make: do I pay the $330 a month in case I get sick or do I take a risk and go without insurance?

It was during this time period that I went to the dermatologist for a routine skin check. As a frequent tanning bed user with a family history of skin cancer, I felt like I could rest easier if a doctor told me I was totally fine. Well, many of you know the rest of the story. I had a mole biopsied, and it turned out to be an early-stage melanoma. My overpriced insurance also came with high deductibles, but without it, I could have gotten myself into some major, major debt. I know I say this frequently, but most young people never imagine they'd be diagnosed with cancer in their 20s. I didn't see it coming. By letting young adults stay on their parents health insurance plans until their 26 and by guaranteeing health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, we may be able to catch more melanomas before they metastasize--and prevent a myriad of other health conditions.

Have a great 4th everyone! Don't forget your sunscreen/sun-protective clothing!