In February of 2013 my husband and I separated. I adore him. He is my life. He is my dream come true. But we could no longer live together. It's not because of anything he did or anything I did. We are very much in love. But he got sick, and that was the beginning of our nightmare.
In August 2012, my husband worked 50-60 hours a week in a physically demanding job. I had just finished nursing school and had begun my second career as a nurse. We were happy and looking forward to the rest of our life together. In September it all came crashing down. He was preparing for sinus surgery and had gone for a pre-op chest X-ray. The X-ray was not normal so we were sent for a CT and within a week he was having a bronchoscopy. He was diagnosed with a rare lung disease and within 2 week was oxygen dependent.
He could no longer work. We would lose our health insurance because it was tied to his job. I scrambled to get coverage for us at my place of employment. Thankfully, I had just become eligible for benefits.
He applied for disability and was turned down. We applied again. By that time the disease had progressed to the point that the doctor could use the magic word "fibrosis" in their report. We were accepted and had backpay of disability in less than 90 days. But the nightmare did not end.
Because of my husband's work record, he qualifies for SSDI, not SSI. If he qualified for SSI he would be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. Since he has SSDI, he has to wait for 2 years before he qualifies for Medicare.
That's right. Our government can force employers to provide health insurance for their employees, but the government itself denies medical insurance to people that they have deemed disabled for a period of two years.
So last February my husband moved out. He went to live with his mother in another state so she could help care for him and I can continue to work to keep him insured. He's only two hours away. But that can seem like an eternity.
He is dying. If the doctors are correct he has about another year. He is listed for lung transplant but has developed congestive heart failure which could prohibit him from being transplanted. He is living his last days separated from me. I go over on weekends and spend time with him as much as possible if he is hospitalized.
As a nurse, I can get a job anywhere. I could move to be with him, but I have a letter from BCBS stating they will pay for his transplant. If I changed jobs, he cannot be excluded from coverage for pre-existing, but they don't have to agree to cover transplant. However, doubtful that might be it is still our only hope.
Don't get me wrong. I am thankful we have coverage. But I should not have to choose between covering him and being able to spend his last days with him.
So, for another year, we are separated. He will qualify for Medicare in February 2015. I find it somewhat ironic that that is exactly how much time the doctors gave him.