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Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:11

Past illness leaves woman ‘uninsurable’

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Though Sylva resident Marsha Crites had no risk factors, she suffered a major cerebellum stroke at the age of 49.

“Not only could I not walk, I couldn’t sit,” said Crites. “I would even fall out of bed for a while.”

Her health insurance covered much of the expenses but not everything.

“They covered all but $10,000, but still, that was a lot that I had to cover myself,” said Crites, who ended up fighting the insurance company for more coverage and lower costs. “They would cover occupational therapy, but not speech therapy.”

Crites said she had to argue logistics with the insurance company while she was “out of it.”

“I have always felt that you had to beg, plead and beat on the door to get the health insurance coverage that you needed,” said Crites.

Crites suspected finding another health insurance policy would be nearly impossible even though she fully recovered from the stroke. She was right.

After Crites lost her insurance policy due to a divorce, she became “uninsurable.”

Crites was turned down by insurance companies left and right. She finally settled for temporary insurance, which only works for six months at a time. She pays about $250 a month, but her deductible is $3,500.

“I get no preventative care, none,” said Crites. “If you get really sick in those six months, they won’t renew it.”

As a self-employed landscape designer, Crites said there’s no way she could afford individual insurance even if she had been approved for it.

“Personally, I think it’s embarrassing for me as an American that we don’t have universal health care,” said Crites. “It is so much cheaper to cover everybody to provide preventative care.”

Crites asked if the people who complain about government control would want to take away benefits for veterans, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance for Congress.

“Why do some people get government help and others not?” asked Crites, adding she is willing to pay more taxes to get everybody covered. “There’s no way my taxes would equal what I’m paying for premiums.”

Crites said there’s an urgent need to pass health care reform in the U.S. now.

“I just see so much tragedy,” said Crites. “This is not just about it’s inconvenient or it’s expensive. People are dying because we as the supposedly most progressive country on Earth can’t take care of our people.”

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