So often, women’s health care needs are neglected and denied by the health insurance industry. And because we often have roles as care taker, stay-at-home moms, and part time workers we don’t have benefits that come with a full time job, and we often go without insurance. So last month we asked women to send us their health care stories. That simple question hit a massive nerve. We received hundreds of e-mails from young, middle age, older, widowed, divorced, mothers, sisters, daughters, brothers and fathers — all who had a story of their ordeal with the health care industry.
I went through each story and found myself pausing after each one grateful that I have been fairly healthy all my life. But isn’t that the problem with this health care industry that the idea is you’re only one illness away from being in the poor house? For women, our odds of losing everything is greater. Some insurance companies consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition and you can be denied. Eight states including the District of Columbia consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition and will not provide coverage to victims. Taking anti-depressants can also be considered a pre-existing condition, and more women than men suffer from depression.
Women are even being denied basic health care coverage. Many health care options do not cover contraception, pap smear, prenatal care, mammograms and STD testing so if you become pregnant, have a history of breast cancer in your family or contract an STD, you are on your own. Something happened similar to a woman in Wisconsin. She worked for a company that didn’t cover birth control pills but she needed them for health reasons. She now gambles with her health and the possibility of being pregnant. The punch line is her company contract states that she can be terminated if she becomes pregnant outside of wedlock.
The purpose of these stories is to encourage women to share because we are not alone. Chances are these stories about you or you may know of someone who has gone through something similar. We will continue to accept stories so write in share your health care experience.