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Monday, March 16, 2009

While she lay in bed: Insurance denials for pre-existing conditions

"My mother died very suddenly and very young," her adult son told AARP Bulletin last fall.

Ann Dunham died in 1995 at age 52 after working as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Ford Foundation and Women's World Banking. She taught her son an important lesson about access to health care. "She'd go from contract to contract and would be able to buy health insurance [only] when she got a new contract," her son said. "When she got sick, she had just signed up for a new job, a new contract, and she had a lot of arguments of whether this was a pre-existing condition of which she had no knowledge whatsoever….As someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make sure those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and who need care the most."

This is more than wishful thinking on the son's part, as he is now president of the United States – Barack Obama. As he said frequently during the presidential campaign, "These are not abstractions for me."

Advice: Fight for health insurance for all.

Read a story about a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to Jim Toedtman for the source article in the March issue of the AARP Bulletin.

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