Health Insurance

Health Insurance


[music] My name is Brooke Leggen, and I was diagnosed
with melanoma three times. I felt lucky to have health insurance, but
I was concerned about being under-insured since I was on a student health plan. And I was worried that I may not get the best
care because I had to use the student health center as my primary care provider. It turns out that my concerns were valid. The volunteer staff at the health center was
different every time I went in. And so I constantly had to relate my cancer
story to a new person. That was really emotionally draining. And there was a financial burden. But luckily, I was able to rely on my parents
to help make ends meet. I guess that’s what I learned. You can’t get through this alone. So please, ask for help. I was being diagnosed with cancer and I didn’t
know if my bills were going to get paid. And I’m not under my parents’ insurance. The first couple of years, I just ignored
all of these insurance things because I had too much on my mind with regard to what I
was dealing with. Some people have complete freedom to take
a chance and do whatever they want to do, regardless of what the health insurance situation
might be. That’ll never be an option for me. So it’s kind of a–it’s a pain. It’s a definite pain. And at 25 years old, you don’t really know
how to deal with it. So all of these difficulties of making life
decisions and really doing what you want to do have been hampered by the fact that I have
to have health insurance. We wanted to change jobs and move to a new
organization. It was a really exciting opportunity. And I was very fortunate that I worked with
the person who was in charge of health benefits at the organization before I was hired to
come up with a strategy to ensure that I wouldn’t be covered by the insurance but end up with
a pre-existing condition. You have to learn how to ask the questions
and how to navigate the system. And what you need to find out is it’s a real
difficult bureaucracy to find your way around. And in order to do that, I actually had to
come on initially as a freelance employee. Because if I got the insurance too quickly,
they would pick up some of my prior visits to the doctor and then count that against
me. There are financial avenues out there and
seek them out if you need them. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. I mean, people out there will do anything
if you just ask for it. I was taken care of through Medicare Disability
for many years. I’ve just chosen to carry my own insurance
which is quite a bit more expensive, but to me, the peace of mind that I can get out of
accessing who I want, when I want, is worth it. If you don’t have insurance, there are a lot
of government grants, and foundations, and organizations that would help pay for this
treatment that you take. It may take a lot of papers to fill out. It may take a lot of time. But it’s so worth it. When it comes to understanding health insurance,
knowledge is power. Health insurance laws are different everywhere,
so find out what the law is in your state. It’s pretty common that if you have a lapse
in coverage, it’s hard to get insurance again. So all young-adult cancer survivors should
make it a priority to maintain constant health insurance coverage, even if it means taking
a job you might not otherwise. If you don’t have insurance, look for other
benefits you might be eligible for. Government and non-profit agencies are there
to help you get the treatment you need. And try to make a connection with at least
one person at your doctor’s office who can advocate for you with the insurance company
in case any questions arise. [music] If you have questions about health insurance,
it is important that you talk to your doctor or contact these cancer-related organizations
for more information. [music] [silence]

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