I'm so glad you're concerned with the plight of the millions of American people (especially women) who are either under-insured or uninsured. Seeing your concern during the Healthcare Summit yesterday prompted me to write you. I'm actually hoping you can help a friend of mine.
She's a very hardworking woman and a rather wonderful friend. (She makes the best hummus, ever!) Like others in the financial services industry, she was laid off a few years ago from a multi-million dollar financial services firm in Chicago and she has only recently been able to find steady work as a sub-contractor for a federal gov't office. In the 3 years between her initial layoff and her contract work now, she has gone back to school and started her own business. But when her rather generous severance package ran out, she had to give up COBRA coverage and purchase an individual healthcare insurance policy.
Then she ran into a few issues. The economy got very soft and she needed to supplement her small income by working some uneven retail jobs. I don't know if you know, but most hourly retail jobs don't pay benefits. Her business wasn't really making a profit and her savings were dwindling. Retail only paid her several hundred dollars a month and her expenses (rent, food, utilities, insurance) were eating the majority of her savings. Pretty soon, her savings were gone. So last year, she went on food stamps and reluctantly canceled her individual health insurance. Later that year, she was late with her rent and when her landlord started to make noises about eviction, she moved in with a friend with a spare room because she was literally steps away from being homeless.
You should know she discovered a lump, too. She's had this lump for about a year now and has never had it checked. Breast cancer is rampant in her family history. She's working a full time job with this federal government office but only as a contractor, which doesn't offer benefits of any kind. So even though she's earning some money, she has to put a lot of it into savings in order to get ready to move out - she can't live in her friend's spare room forever. Anyway, the point is she hasn't gotten her lump checked. It's still there.
I keep telling her there are public services in Illinois for breast screening for low income women (since she only earned $16,000.00 last year, I think she qualifies as low income.) But she refuses because she doesn't want to get slammed with a preexisting condition when she finally gets managed care. And now that flu season is still kicking around in Chicago, she's got this bad cough and her job won't let her take any days off so she's going into work sick. It would be great if she could get a few antibiotics into her.
Can you help her? It would be great if you could let her know that you guys have a plan to resolve her situation.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
A Concerned Friend