I had a nice visit this week from a young man with hemophilia named Walter. The way we met was strange. Last September I decided to rip up the carpet in my basement, which was in dire need of extermination, after years of pets and children had taken their toll. I hired a local flooring company to place lovely tiles that are immune to regurgitated dog food and ground up Doritos. One of the three young men tiling my floor asked me, “Does your son have hemophilia? Because I do.” He had seen photos on my basement walls of me with Paul Newman at Camp Hole in the Wall (oh yeah, can’t miss that photo), and put two and two together. Here he was, on his knees all day, using really sharp cutting tools to tear up the carpet! We talked for a long time, and I sent him away with all kinds of books and newsletters, and told him to contact me if he ever needed anything. He only lives about three miles away.
So this week Walter did stop by. He quit his job. Walter Walter! What were you thinking? I wailed. Now he has no insurance and no way to pay for factor. No unemployment checks, nothing. Walter also didn’t know what to do. He had never really been connected to the community.
My first thought was, don’t get any more factor sent you from your home care company. If his rep decides to send a quick shipment and does not check in first… Walt could be stuck with a bill he could never afford. Did he contact his home care company immediately to stop any more shipments? No. I made him promise to call that afternoon, so he will not accidentally get stuck with a big shipment that would eventually ruin his credit rating.
Did he tell his HTC? No. That would be his next call. Does he know what product he uses? Yes. And thankfully, his home care company enrolled him in a coupon program, so he has lots of coupons. Cash them in! He should get some free factor.
After talking, Walt saw his error. A person with hemophilia if at all possible should never just quit their job. So much preparation needs to be done first. At least we have lots of help in this community. From ACCESS to PSI, Walt has many resources to contact for advise and help. And as he walked out the door (I couldn’t tell if he was happy or sorry he came), I handed him this issue of PEN–“What To Do When You Lose Your Insurance.” The forlorn young man on the front could have been him.
Guys with hemophilia–don’t quit your day job. Tough it out for the sake of your health. Or I am coming to lecture you, too.