I graduated college in 2005 after studying media literacy and media policy reform, not a huge field. I was fortunate to live in a city in which there were two organizations where I could apply for super-relevant and exciting jobs, but neither offered health insurance. I had been struggling for several years with cystic acne, treatment for which included a controversial drug called Accutane, that required monthly blood tests and lots of surveillance, as well as spironolactone between Accutane courses, and frequent steroid injections. You can imagine how pricey this gets.
I always expect people to be thinking 'it's just acne' but we're talking 15-20 massive purple cysts all over my face. And at the same time, I agree, it's just acne, it could be worse. But I still needed treatment to live a normal life. My face is quite scarred and even now I always know the cysts can come back, so if I want to be able to treat it and maintain a relatively normal ability to interact with people in public, I need health insurance.
Even if I had been able to afford an individual health plan at the time, which would not have been possible on the salaries I was looking at, they wouldn't have covered the acne treatment. Because individual health plans could tell you yes, we'll give you coverage, but not for what you need it for, at least not for a year, and then we'll see. So my career plans were derailed by acne and the American health care system at the time. I was lucky, I was able to go into another field. Others have paid far higher prices.
The lesson of my story is that if a condition as mundane as acne can threaten your ability to find a job and live your life, imagine how much worse it can be.
-- Rachel LG