Courtney is a 42-year-old mother of three. She is a former electrician who now spends her time doing the things that she loves and that she hopes will make a positive difference in the world, from substitute teaching to selling wine. But she also wakes up every morning asking herself: is today the day?
Ten years ago on a Thursday, Courtney went to her doctor complaining of numbness in her leg – a week later, she had been diagnosed with MS. Now, every day is another day that she wonders whether or not she’ll be able to get out of bed, and not be able to walk. Courtney is in a battle against time, a treasure that step therapy can cost her plenty of.
“People don’t realize that both the insurance industry and the step therapy practice can cost me – and other people like me – very precious time,” said Courtney. “Right now, I’m able to walk, talk, work, I’m not on disability – but you can’t disrupt that by meddling with my treatment simply for the benefit of saving an insurance company money.”
The start of 2018 was also the start of a new insurance plan for Courtney, which forced her into a serious holding pattern. First, her new insurance company didn’t cover the MS doctor Courtney has been seeing for the past 10 years. Though eventually she was able to negotiate to remain with her doctor’s office, coverage of the medication that has kept her stabilized over the past five years was in question for over a month. Luckily, her treatment was approved (though delayed) and Courtney was able to receive the most recent dosage of a medication she gets every five weeks. Sadly, since there are not adequate patient protections in place right now, insurance could have denied her coverage and forced her to go back to taking medications she had previously failed on with a prior insurance company.
“Healthcare should not be a privilege, but a human right. I didn’t ask for this disease, but unfortunately my health is at the mercy of my insurance company. Ultimately, our system is broken.”