My name is Susan. I am 41 years old and I live near Albany. I had a spinal cancer at age 29 and was lucky to have insurance that covered treatment through my union at the time as well as financial assistance from the hospital where I was treated. My cancer treatment was successful; however the long-term effects of that treatment have created new health conditions and exacerbated others which also in ongoing and extensive healthcare costs.
As a result of frequent blood transfusions I received to keep my chemotherapy on an aggressive schedule, I developed Hemochromatosis, an excess of iron in my liver which puts me at high risk for cirrhosis and other liver diseases. To treat thus, every three weeks I have an out-patient treatment that costs $1000 per treatment and will take at least 20 treatments to cure the condition. Because I have health insurance I only pay $50 per treatment of the full cost but would be unaffordable for me at $1000 per treatment without health insurance.
The both chemo and pelvic radiation I received exacerbated existing gastrointestinal sensitivities, What was inconvenient prior to cancer treatment (mainly a tendency of loose bowel movements) has escalated to occasional but unpredictable loss of bowel control, which impacts my profession work, personal relationships and takes as much of an emotional toll as a physical one.
Almost two years after finishing my cancer treatment I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I. I am stable due to daily meds and working with extraordinary mental health professionals including a NPP (Nurse Practitioners Psychiatry) for medication management and weekly one-on-one and group talk therapy. This comes at great financial cost even with insurance and would be unaffordable and inaccessible to me without health insurance.
I fear losing or leaving my job as I am dependent on it for health insurance coverage. Without health insurance my monthly prescriptions alone would cost me close to $1000/month, which is half of my net monthly income at my current job.
Even with my employer-based insurance, I need the NY Health Act because my healthcare costs including a high annual deductible, prescription medication, copays and uncovered medical expenses are a source of major economic strain and anxiety.