I Gave Birth to Sick Twins, Lost My House, My Bed, My Dignity

Jen Sinconis describes her experience with medical debt for the 'Guardian'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2018 12:20 PM CST
Updated Jan 20, 2018 12:54 PM CST
I Gave Birth to Sick Twins, Lost My House, My Bed, My Dignity
Stock photo of a baby in an incubator.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – In an essay for the Guardian, Jen Sinconis pens a sort of love letter to two ObamaCare tenets: a ban on lifetime limits on most benefits and on denying people insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Sinconis had access to neither when she had her twin boys 11 years ago. The experience was traumatic—premature labor began at 24 weeks, and her micro-preemies weighed less than 2 pounds each. But Sinconis and her husband were about as well prepared as you might expect a couple to be for the trauma: the college grads had stable jobs, little debt, savings and retirement accounts, and "comprehensive medical insurance."

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Except as their boys battled "brain hemorrhages, retinal complications, heart defects, cerebral palsy, blood infections, [and] hernias," among other complications, they realized how insufficient "comprehensive" insurance was for their extreme situation. One example: Insurance picked up one X-ray daily, but most days they were on the hook for multiple others. It's how they found themselves, 18 months later, having blown past their $2 million cap and $450,000 in debt. Selling everything—their house, yes, but even their master bed—didn't stave off bankruptcy, and it left them in the bizarre position of having to pay for insurance that returned little because canceling it would leave the boys saddled with a pre-existing-condition label and uninsurable. And in losing everything, she also lost her "dignity." Read her full essay, which includes a positive update on her boys, here. (Read more health insurance stories.)

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