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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Insurance Companies Like to Give Out Umbrellas When It's Sunny, But Take Them Back When it Rains

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We hear a lot about the number of uninsured Americans in the news and the danger of going without health insurance. What we hear about less often is the fact that even the Americans with healthcare coverage are struggling to manage their healthcare costs in the weakened economy. Take, for example, Amber Cooper who relies on her company's health insurance coverage to pay for her expensive, but vital medication. Amber's luck turned for the worse when her company decided to switch health insurance plans–leaving her with a bill so large that she and her husband were forced to make major cutbacks in their daily living expenses–including not buying their 5-year-old son new clothing when he outgrew his older clothes and not visiting the doctor when they were sick.

Amber received a liver transplant when she was 10. She has to take medication that prevents her body from rejecting the donor liver and also undergo monthly blood tests to make sure that everything is functioning correctly with her liver. But when the small manufacturing company that Amber works for decided to switch healthcare plans, Amber was stuck paying for the medication out-of-pocket. The cost of the medication was more than $1000 per month and Amber was also forced to forego her monthly blood tests because she could not afford the additional $300 cost. Luckily, Amber found the Healthwell Foundation, which was willing to pay for her medication.

What happened to Amber and her family is happening more and more often. Even those individuals with health insurance coverage are paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before their health insurance will even begin to cover anything. Even when insurance does kick in, it often covers much less than what it used to. Between higher co-pays, larger deductibles, and higher costs for out-of-network services, American families are squeezed even tighter in the still unstable economy. These types of stories depict that insurance companies are willing to provide coverage when you don't need it, but are quick to take it away when you actually need their services.