By Anthony Jones, Renton
I was a normal 19 year old going to college, playing basketball with friends, enjoying life as a healthy young man. But all of a sudden, I started experiencing extreme fatigue, inflammation, and pain in my joints. I was diagnosed with Lupus, a condition so severe I had to be treated with cytotoxin chemotherapy.
Plus there was the worry – how would I cook for myself or even walk to the bathroom when my ankles and other joints become too painful to move? The thought of losing my savings to qualify for Medicaid was devastating.
Thankfully, I’m still working and living completely independently. But my condition is unpredictable. Some days I feel 100 percent. Other days the joint inflammation in my foot is so bad I can’t even walk my dog, or go to work. Some days the pain in my hands is so severe I can’t hold a pot or cook for myself. I’ve been experiencing these flare-ups off and on for the past 20 years, and I know it’s going to get worse as time goes on.
I’ve looked into the options for getting long term care insurance to cover the costs when I need a caregiver to come help me out at home. Even if I could afford the expensive premiums, private long term care insurance denies policies for people with preexisting conditions. I’ve learned 1 in 5 people have a preexisting condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, or Lupus, like me.
I’ve always been employed, but I had no idea how I would be able to pay for help. Health insurance only covers immediate medical care from a doctor, not occasional or ongoing longer term home care – like help with meals, dressing, getting around. And I don’t want to spend all my savings down to qualify for Medicaid care.
Good thing all working Washingtonians now have WA Cares. WA Cares will pay for a home care aid, medical equipment or even home modifications like a ramp. WA Cares pays up to $36,500, and that amount goes up with inflation.
We all pay a little now just while we are working, and we’ll be able to tap into our WA Cares Funds when we need help.
Knowing I’ll be able to stay in my own home, even when my condition gets really bad, gives me so much relief. Help is on the way for those of us with pre-existing conditions thanks to WA Cares. Learn more at: walongtermcareoptions.info