From Dave Farland:
In my posts, I prefer to concentrate on storytelling, rather than talking about the art of creating powerful prose or talk much about the business side of writing, but today I’m going to make an exception.
Yesterday, I noticed that a fellow writer (she’s young, she’s hot!) put up a note on Facebook that said, “Will marry for health insurance.” It’s both funny and sad.
Here in the United States, health insurance can be hard to get, and if you can get it at all. In fact, my friend Kris Rusch has said that the single most frequent cause for a writer’s career to become derailed is that the author has inadequate health insurance.
. . . .
So what is “adequate” insurance? That’s hard to answer. In 2003-2004, my wife and I were living in California. We purchased the best insurance that we could possibly get.
However, that insurance didn’t cover everything. When our daughter needed help, we chose to spend an extra $40,000 for services that weren’t covered. We knew that it would put our financial health in jeopardy, but made a tough choice. After all, what’s more important, a few thousand dollars, or the life of your child?
In fact, it turned out that the insurance didn’t cover what we thought it did. A few months later, our insurer refused to pay for services that their policy did appear to cover. They left us in the lurch. I contacted a good lawyer, looking to sue, and he spent a couple of days researching the case. As he put it, “The things that they offered on page 4, they took away on page 33. They’ve had an army of lawyers working on this document for years, and it’s pretty ironclad. A lot of people have sued, and if you do, you’ll just waste your money on legal fees. I’m sorry.”
These excessive health costs caused a domino effect, and eventually we lost our house, our car, and our life savings, narrowly avoiding bankruptcy.
. . . .
Now we’re facing another health crisis. We moved to Utah in 2004, and we were able to keep our insurance until early 2006. But when we went shopping for insurance in Utah, we found that we weren’t able to buy it at all. We tried. We couldn’t get personal insurance for my family because I have type II diabetes. My condition is not bad—I don’t take insulin. In fact, as my doctor put it, I’m one of the “lucky few who seemed to have beat diabetes” through a combination of exercise and diet. But private policies won’t cover me, and when I tried to get a group policy, that didn’t work either. No one wanted to have a diabetic in their group, raising their rates. We tried a number of approaches, until my insurance agent just said, “Give it up, Dave, you just can’t get it here.”
. . . .
In any case, we then looked at finding a job that would allow us to get insurance through an established group policy. My wife found such a job and worked at it for nearly two years, but the company laid her off at the height of the recession. Since she is hearing impaired, getting a job is difficult for her. After searching for 18 months, she took a new job for the State of Utah, helping to teach handicapped children, but people in her position don’t have any benefits at all. So health insurance isn’t an option through work, either.
. . . .
With our son Ben’s longboarding accident, which happened three and a half weeks ago, we are approaching $700,000 in medical bills for the month, and our overall bill, once we get him through rehab and his future brain surgery, should run well over a million dollars. Obviously, we are checking into programs to help cover costs, and we’ll look at negotiating the prices down as low as we possibly can, but this is grueling.
. . . .
[G]etting insurance is a must. At some time in your life, you will probably need it. Buy a smaller home if you have to, or get a used car instead of new. But make insurance a priority.
Link to the rest at David Farland and thanks to Eric for the tip.
When PG was still doing litigation, he banged heads with a big health insurance company twice. Won both times. Two of the best days of his life.
Following are details about another way of helping Dave with his son’s medical bills. May 4th is the magic day:
Star Wars Twitter Bomb: Tweet, RT, and share throughout the Twitterverse and other social websites! The goal is to get #helpwolverton and #davidfarland trending on Twitter and Google+ on May the 4th (Star Wars Day) and encourage the kind people online to donate and help.
Please encourage people to participate on other social media websites, primarily Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, blogs, and anything else. Several independent studies show that spreading the word will significantly increase your midichlorian count.
The twitter bomb fundraiser is for David Farland’s son.Dave has written many Star Wars novels and contributed to anthologies such as Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia, Star Wars: Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina, Star Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters, and Star Wars: Tales from Jaba’s Palace.
We’d like to celebrate Star Wars Day by letting their family know that “the force will be with them” in their time of need. Donate and spread the word! Share with everyone you know and on all social networks.
Suggested Tweet (Feel free to improvise):
Help Star Wars author’s son on Star Wars Day! Visit http://www.helpwolverton.com to learn more. #davidfarland #starwarsday #helpwolverton