Dan and Wendy with their son and first grandchild

I never thought about health insurance until 2008. I got married in 1980 and both my husband and I worked. We always chose to have me go on his insurance. The cost came out of his check each month and we got good medical care for ourselves and our two children. Fast forward to 2008 when my husband got a rare autoimmune disease that left him unable to work. He lost his job and ended up in a hospital bed in our living room. I was working three days a week and was six years away from turning 65! All of a sudden, at a time when we had college bills to pay, and finally owned our own home, we started paying an expensive cobra bill before he could get qualified for disability and get Medicare. When he did, I was left uninsured. I was working three days a week at a job I really loved but needed to go full time to qualify for their health plans. Fortunately, my husband’s disease was expensively treated successfully with Humira for which we pay $5,000 per year and I was able to purchase Community Health Options costing me half my paycheck and the worry of a $5,000 annual deductible.

My story is not unique or unusual. Luckily, we did not have to mortgage our home or pay for further hospitalizations. There are many people who do not or cannot get adequate health insurance through their partners or through their work. The days when healthcare can be delivered through employers is over. The sooner we accept this fact, the sooner employers can pay their workers more and not have to worry about spending money on costly and inadequate health insurance plans.

Healthcare is and always has been a human right. We should pay for it like we pay for public libraries, local municipalities, fire stations, schools and police.

I joined Maine All Care so that we Mainers can choose our work separate from our healthcare and buy health insurance without our hard earned money going to pad a CEO’s bank account.

by Wendy Flaschner, Brunswick, ME