Saturday, September 14, 2013

How Much is Your Life Worth?

I recently got a quote for life insurance. I have been married for all of two months and my husband's car died. Before we made our first big married purchase, I called our insurance company to get a quote for our new ride. At the end of the call, the girl asked if I wanted a complementary quote on life insurance. I was home alone and didn't have anything better to do than answer a host of personal questions, so I said yes. 

What followed was a twenty-minute game of 'Who Engages in More Risky Activities-You or Your Husband?' I was winning. I got points for never having smoked anything ever, not traveling out of the country for business, and skipping bungee jumping. I called it a tie on things like family history of diabetes, cholesterol levels, and maintaining a healthy weight. Then right at the end she dropped the bomb- personal history of cancer? I knew it had to be coming, but it was literally the LAST question she asked. And with that, I lost the game. 

I was informed that insuring me would cost three times as much as insuring my husband. I wasn't happy about this, so I answered even more questions that required me to pull out my pink binder with the Stupid Cancer sticker on the cover. From my medical binder, I gave the woman on the phone exact information on the size and depth of my cancer, as well as treatment history, so that she could call back and give me a more accurate quote. I was sure the premium would go down. It had to. I did chemo. I've been cancer free for over seven years

I got a twenty-second slap in the face the next day when the insurance company called back to inform me that the quote I received wasn't accurate. Turns out I'm uninsurable. At any cost. I promptly sent a snarky text to my husband letting him know the good news that I am worth far more alive than I am dead. Then I thought about what this meant. According to some mathematical risk analysis formula, it is so probable that I will die young(ish) that this company wouldn't even take me on. I am a liability. I made a point of not thinking too hard about this, though; I have come to terms with my own mortality. Cancer will help you do that. I have thought I was dying enough times that I have an advance directive, and I have put a great deal of thought into the legacy I would like to leave. Everyone dies. It doesn't scare me. 

I thought my fear of being uninsurable was over once healthcare reform became a reality, but I hadn't even considered life insurance. Who my age does? As frustrated as I am about this, I am trying not to let it get me down. For all the unexpected (and unwanted) 'gifts' that cancer has given me (surprise- your thyroid doesn't work anymore!) There are many more gifts that I am grateful for. I have traveled the country, met amazing people, shared my story, created artwork, found my inner athlete. I have perspective and priorities. My life took a sharp left turn it wouldn't have taken without cancer, and I am eternally grateful for the change in course, because without cancer, I wouldn't be who I am- Someone whose life's value can't be summed up with a mathematical formula. 

Hope. Love. Run.

1 comment:

  1. I am in the same boat Juliana but I am glad you can take a positive spin on it.