Nicole of Crossville, TN

Nicole of Crossville, TN writes:

I am an audiologist, raised in Roane county but lived in Memphis for 19 years, spending the first half of my career in pediatrics and the second half working with adults with hearing impairment.  I moved to Fairfield Glade (Crossville) in 2015 to buy a private audiology practice. It was official on Jan 1 2016. On April 1 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My parents are still in Kingston so I am enjoying spending time with them and being back on this side of the state!

As a single female and small business owner, I can’t take advantage of using my spouse’s plan or a large group plan that is offered by a big employer.

I am an Audiologist as well as a patient so I do see the flaws in the plan as it is, from both sides of the coin.  My insurance is expensive, but I am petrified that loss of pre-existing condition mandates will leave me uninsurable.

When I was 8 years old, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I grew up knowing I needed insurance. I always worked for companies that offered insurance to employees because of this. With the ability to get insurance myself, it gave me the freedom to finally go into private practice. Historically I was not a huge fan of ACA because it does have flaws. But then I got cancer. If not for my insurance last year, I would be economically devastated.  Having had cancer at 43 I also would be worried about lifetime caps as well as preexisting conditions and the fear of being unceremoniously kicked off a plan if those protections are removed.

As an audiologist for 22 years, I see that the healthcare system has problems. Costs are high for patients and reimbursement is small for providers.  Insurance companies are pulling out. The ACA is not perfect by any stretch, but we need *something*.

I am a 43 year old single female who had cancer in 2016. I own a small business. I don’t have the option of using a big employer’s or a spouse’s plan.

Without the ability to purchase my own insurance I might be forced to go back to being an employee. Without protection for pre-existing conditions, I might not even be able to do that. If lifetime caps are reinstated, I might be totally uninsurable before I reach the age of 50.

Please let us fix the issues without destroying people.

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