And say their own truth. These courageous individuals have shared their stories with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

“We have to pay over $2400 per month for private individual health insurance because my husband lost his job and we have some relatively minor, age-related health conditions, in addition to my being a breast cancer survivor. We just had a $300 per month increase in our premium! We tried to get insurance with another company and I was turned down due to these conditions, so we are stuck!”  — Ellen, Bonita Springs, FL

“I pay for my health insurance as an individual as I no longer work. My health insurance costs have doubled in the last ten years. Three years ago, I applied for prescription insurance and was denied. Now I’ve got a four year gap until Medicare will kick in during which time I have to pay for my drugs out of pocket and beg the doctors for samples every time I see them. My aunt and uncle who live in another state don’t even BELIEVE that I’ve been denied as they have MANY options from which to choose and both receive Medicare. There IS a GREAT problem in this country with health care. We need a public option!!!!”  — Betty, Olmstead, KY

“I have paid for health insurance for 35 years.  The only major hospital visit I had was my son’s birth in 1980. In 1997 I was terminated from my job of 31 years.  I kept my insurance from Cobra as long as I could for 18 months.  The insurance at this time was twice what I paid when I worked In Jan 1998 I was diagnosed with Ductal breast cancer that did not show up on any mammogram.  I had surgery and then had 4 months of chemo and 37 treatments of radiation.  This was followed with a year of herception.

In Dec. 1998 my Cobra Insurance was over.  I had to get Ala. Health care because I couldn’t get regular insurance because of: “pre-existing conditions”. Insurance went from $450 a month to $775.00 in Jan. 2009 and $790.00 in Feb. 2009.  The insurance will go up again in Jan and Feb 2010. With my previous insurance I had $1 million in lifetime insurance coverage for cancer.  With my present coverage I have only $50,000 coverage for chemo and radiation. I have already met my limit this year for lifetime chemo and radiation.   What do I do when my cancer returns?  I paid over the years for insurance I did not use.  Now, that I need it I don’t have it. Over the years I have paid much more for insurance than I will ever be able to use in my lifetime. This insurance is more than my house payment.  How is this right? … You should not be allowed to be rejected for treatment because your insurance won’t pay for it.”  — Linda, Homewood, AL

Looking for a way to get involved?

Do you want to help engage policymakers and leaders at all levels of government to advocate for an increased investment in breast cancer research and greater access to breast health services? Become an advocate.

Terri Evans

Terri Evans

Terri Evans is 25+year marketing communications professional, a partner at LeslieEvansCreative and Bcauz marketing (cause-related). She has been a food columnist for Atlanta Intown and Atlanta Buckhead newspapers, and a contributing writer for Georgia Magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and other publications. Evans was also a finalist in a Southern Living cooking competition. She is (and has long been) at work on a novel set in the South (of Georgia) and the South (of France). She's always cookin' up somethin'.

  1. After having breast cancer in 1999 – thankfully it was caught very early and I only needed a lumpectomy followed by radiation – the self employed insurance rates for myself and my husband shot up to $1500/month. The next year, $2000/month. The following year it was $4000/month and that was where we had to draw the line. I was then at the 5 year cancer free mark and we found other coverage but the deductible was extremely high and the policy would not treat any cancer for the first year of coverage. Thank goodness, we did not have any medical emergencies. Trying to find better coverage after that was still a struggle. Even at the 10 year cancer free mark, the options are limited. Insurance companies are holding people hostage and everyone in this country should be kicking up sand and demanding solutions.

  2. Terri Evans

    Betz, thanks for speaking up. I’m happy to hear that it’s been ten years. Like you, we are intimately aware of the health insurance “hostage” situation. Take good care.

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