It was towards the end of my soccer mom days when I learned that my uterus was a financial liability. I was focused on being a good mom. I was happy, healthy, and not much concerned with women’s health issues. Still, I thought that I could be a better steward of family finances if I could find a better rate for family health insurance on the “outside.” On the “inside,” that is, the places where my husband and I worked, we received a set amount each month for benefits, sort of like a voucher, which covered basically just the employee. To insure the children, one of us had to sign up for employee plus family, and the amounted deducted from the paycheck was substantial. Surely we can do better, I thought. We are all healthy! In fact, no one had had any health issues, except for one hot August soccer practice when M broke both tibia and fibula, which effectively ended his soccer career.
The first phone calls went well, and the first health questionnaires were filled out. “Piece of cake,” I was thinking.
“We need to send a nurse out,” the woman explained over the phone.
“Of course,” I said.
We sat in the dining room and she took my blood pressure. It was totally normal: 120/80.
The questions were easy. I had never smoked. I drank only in moderation. I was not in mental health therapy. My kids rarely ever missed a day of school. They had had all required vaccinations, on time, and during an era when health insurance did not over such routine things as shots.
“Yes, every month,” I replied
“Had any operations?” she asked.
“My tonsils!” It was an instant response, for I had never forgotten how they came at me with the mask, and how I futilely tried to fight it off my face before the whirring sound and sickly smell knocked me out cold.
“Yes,” I said remembering that quite recently, within the last five years in fact, I had had an operation. “I did have an ovary removed.”
“Oh?” she asked.
“Yes!” I chattered on explaining how I had had a cyst on an ovary, benign, that had grown large and that had flipped over somehow, strangulating one ovary.
I don’t remember if I got the news then, at my dining room table, or later with a phone call. Whichever, the news was both good and bad. “We can write your family a health insurance policy! But we will exclude your entire reproductive system.”
It was a shocking moment. What woman wants health insurance that excludes her entire reproductive system?
We never took the insurance because we had other choices. We remained on the “inside” with the insurance that our employers provided. I had learned a financial lesson, and it was not a good one. My uterus, which, as far as I was concerned, still functioned fine, was now a preexisting condition.