Representatives in Congress:

Health Care Issues
Ongoing Premium Increases
High Out-of-Pocket Costs
Medical Debt
Unmet Health Care Needs
Delayed Care
Denied SSDI

Arthritis Advocate: Tracy L.Kingsley, MI

I have corresponded with [my representatives] regarding healthcare, and Dave Camp has offered to try to assist me with SSDI. He responded to a letter regarding all the issues I was having with social security and health insurance.

I have been unable to find private health insurance that is affordable and accessable. I currently drive 1-1/2 hours to see a rheumatologist. I am there every four weeks for infusions because Blue Cross will not pay for me to have them locally.

My premiums have increased double digits for the last 10 years. I had another rate increase and they were trying to charge me $2,500 per month for health insurance. I had to appeal the decision and got it back down to $1,500, but how many know they can appeal? I have over $50,000 in medical debt right now from copays and uncovered expenses. I tried working it out with the provider, but they turned it over to collections anyway.

I am currently on 17 different prescriptions and my husband is on 12. We have to make a decision every month about which ones to fill, due to no cash for all of them. I have put off surgery because I cannot afford the copays, so I am in constant pain, which is even worse now, because I put off the surgery I need for my shoulders.

I will need a knee replacement within the next three years and I am trying to put that off also. I simply have no money for copays and uncovered costs. I cannot work anymore and I applied for SSDI back in 2008. I am currently waiting on an appeal hearing for denial of my claim. I was told by the SSDI that they only approve a small number of initial claims with the reasoning that if you need it, you will wait it out. This is inhumane. I paid into the system for almost 30 years and I have to beg for what is supposed to be mine, even though I have two of the qualifying conditions.

I have rheumatoid arthritis and MS. I have other issues, but these are the main two. I was told by SSDI that I should be able to find employment with some company who will cater to my needs. I have so much more to tell but it would be overwhelming in this application. I would like to make it known to Congress and I am excited about the opportunity to make healthcare reform happen. I keep up with the Congress' actions, let my opinion be known with my representatives, and I do check on how they vote on important issues.

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