Life is full of them. We come across small decisions and big decisions we have to make. I am approaching a time in my life with a big decision that I knew was coming. Last April after much prayer with God I made the decision to resign from my job walking away from my salary position to pursue Erin’s Law. I knew it was now or never to go after this law and I had enough faith in God to know I would not regret this decision and that I heard him correctly and he would not let me down and he sure hasn’t. After several trips over the past 10 months to the state capital to testify and attend meetings on Erin’s law, the law passed both the Senate and House always with all YES votes. A law that has been awaiting Governor Quinn’s signature since December 17 and has until Mid-February to sign it which will be any day now. A law I have put all my time and energy into that did not come with a paycheck as I feel it was my way of serving. Some people go to other countries to feed the poor, others serve in homeless shelters, I have volunteered my time to add an extra layer of protection around the children of Illinois. A law nobody knew about 10 months ago that has since received national media attention from Oprah, several states I have spoken in have covered it in the news, being recognized as newsmaker of the year because of the law, and last week my mother returned from work at the high school I attended and was informed I received from teachers and other staff at the school the most nominations for distinguished alumni award however they told my mother they feel I am too young to be recognized for this and are going to wait until I am 30 years old.
My main source of income comes from public speaking. Believe me becoming an author you don’t become rich unless you write a best seller and it isn’t often a book on the subject of sexual abuse is turned into a best seller, your lucky just to get a book on this subject in print because it is such a silent subject in our society. My intentions were never to become wealthy by taking my story public my mission has and always will be to end the silence and educate society on the subject very few talk openly about. I was fortunate enough to resign from my job and still be under my parents health insurance until a month after my 26th birthday. Well last week I turned 26 and I have now just weeks left under my parents health insurance. I would careless if health insurance was not so important to me and it wasn’t up until 3 years ago when I realized how much my life would rely on it. I figured I would just select a health insurance provider and get private health insurance after turning 26. Well that has not turned out to be the case because of my pre-existing condition and take two very expensive seizure drugs that would cost thousands without insurance. So back in December and January I wasted more then a week on the phone speaking to insurance agents and filling out paperwork only to be told “you won’t be covered you have a pre-existing condition.” I finally got to the point talking to agents on the phone saying before you ask me a bunch of questions and waste your time and mine I have a seizure condition will I be denied coverage. They all said “yes”.
So on to my only other option I can do Cobra and get the same coverage I have now the only thing is it will cost me $500.00 a month starting in March. Which is super expensive and going to increase my month expenses a great deal since I am still working at paying off 5 years of undergrad and grad school. I’ve been waiting for the paperwork to come so I can make sure I am covered because even just a day of no health insurance I won’t be able to even get Cobra. So to say I am not stressing out is an understatement.
I have a busy spring schedule of speaking in several states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania). On top of that my involvement in Erin’s law task force that has until 2012 to submit our report to the governor on the curriculum for Illinois schools.
My passion and heart are in the work I am currently doing and my mission will be to continue to take Erin’s law to the federal level and see it passed in all 50 states. However there comes a point when you can only sacrifice so much and starting next month I am going to start to feel the affects of it when I have to pay a lot for health insurance and am going to have some big decisions on the table as to whether I need to step down from all the public speaking and go find a job with my masters degree for the health insurance the only way I will not be denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition. While many people are against President Obama’s health care plan I completely stand by our President on it and you would too if you had a pre-existing condition and every health care provider denies you coverage because of it and you take thousands of dollars worth of prescriptions each month to keep you from have seizures. I completely agree with President Obama that nobody should be denied health care. To those of you out there that are against it think of those that did not choose to have cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart attack, etc. but it happened to them. Sometimes it takes stepping outside your box and into the shoes of someone else. To those that do not believe everyone should have an opportunity at buying health insurance because of a pre-existing condition well I find you very selfish. The same reason nobody chooses to be sexually abused or raped. Nobody wouldn’t deny them the proper help so why deny people with physical medical conditions health insurance.
Nobody should be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition but it happens and I have experienced it first hand and because of that I have to start to turn my focus to my own concerns and making some big decisions that will be focused on protecting myself. With the knowledge knowing if I my agent doesn’t book a certain number of speaking engagements a month I will have to find a job with benefits and I have decided I want to leave the state of Illinois.
While I am secure here in Illinois through the summer I am only allowed to be on Cobra for 36 months, a year and a half. While that seems like a long time if you really think about it, it goes by fast. I am thinking come October I will need to find a full-time job and I know where I want to relocate. My sister and I are planning a road trip were thinking May when it is a little less-hectic for me with speaking. We are planning a trip out to North Carolina a place I would love to relocate to and part of the trip will be to check some places out. Some states I would love to relocate to are (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virgina, New York, or New Jersey).
For now I am going to try not to stress too much about this paper work for cobra that still hasn’t come. I will be in a much different position next month if I am completely uninsured. Which is why I am going to make some phone calls in the morning asking where it is. I am going to put this in God’s hands and have faith he will take care of it and hopefully not lose too much sleep over it.