By Karen Stokes
During a pandemic, disease spreads quickly and it is imperative to have insurance to cover high unexpected hospital costs. As the world grapples with coronavirus, the more people are realizing the benefits of having quality health insurance.
Health insurance provides financial assistance for routine checkups and financial protection in case of a serious accident, illness or surgery. Things you can’t plan for.
Judge Derek Mosley, the youngest African American to be appointed judge in the State of Wisconsin and judge of the Milwaukee Municipal Court, had a life changing health emergency in March.
Mosley woke up one morning with a congested chest. He could hear it rumble whenever he’d exhaled and he had chills along with body aches.
“At that point I thought I had a cold. I didn’t have a fever but I started experiencing lightheadedness and loss of breath,” Mosley said. “Walking seven steps I felt completely winded as if I had run a race.”
Mosley knew there was something seriously wrong. He called the doctor, who doctor requested that Mosley get a covid test. He was tested on Wednesday and by Friday he learned he had tested positive for COVID-19.
As a kidney transplant recipient, Mosley is immunosuppressed. His body doesn’t have the ability to fight infections and other diseases. The doctor told him to come to the hospital immediately.
“My family couldn’t go in with me,” Mosley said. “I walked into the ER. They put a blood oxygen meter on my finger and my blood oxygen level was low. They gave me more oxygen and my blood oxygen level didn’t go up so they sent me to the ICU.”
Within hours after entering the hospital, Mosley was hooked up to machines in the ICU. His health took a turn for the worse that quickly.
“The rooms are hermetically sealed and when they shut the doors, the only people who come into the room are the nurses and they’re in full PPE so all you can actually see are their eyes,” Mosley explained. “The doctors didn’t come into the room. They would just call me on the phone to talk to me. I knew if the doctors weren’t coming in, I’m in serious trouble.”
“The demoralizing part of being in the ICU is there are no visitors,” Mosley said. “You’re just alone with your thoughts and everything on the TV is about how many people died from covid this week.”
Mosley had to lay on his stomach because it opened up the air passages and allowed more oxygen to enter into his system and keep his organs functioning. If he didn’t lay on his stomach, the next step would be a ventilator.
“It was abundantly clear what had to happen,” Mosley said. “I was going to be ventilated the next morning.”
He was at a crossroads and the doctors weren’t sure what was going to happen.
However, Mosley’s blood oxygen level started to rise. As his blood oxygen levels continued to increase, Mosley moved out of the ICU and onto a regular floor. Once his blood oxygen levels were normal, he was allowed to leave the hospital. In total, he stayed in the hospital for 12 days.
Mosley is a strong advocate for wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, sanitizers and washing your mask.
“People have these cloth masks that their friends made for them and they’re nice but they have to be washed between uses,” Mosley said.
Along with masks and social distancing, health insurance is a necessity during this pandemic. It can give you and your family peace of mind.
“I had a kidney transplant four years ago, my medical bill was $987,000, just under a million dollars. If I didn’t have insurance there’s no way, I could afford my transplant or my stay in the ICU for my covid experience. That was $86,000 for 12 days in the hospital. I don’t know how during a pandemic you would consider not having health insurance.
Health care costs so much without health insurance it’s not a possibility,” Mosley said.
Mosley said there are things you can’t plan for. In February he knew nothing about covid, but by March he had researched the topic and was a virtual expert.
“There wasn’t a lot of information out there. This covid virus is new and besides being new, it’s a killer,” Mosley said.
Everybody, regardless of age needs health insurance. The benefits of coverage outweigh the costs for services. If you aren’t getting insurance through your job, you can shop for a 2021 Affordable Care Act health plan. Open enrollment for 2021 runs from Sunday, Nov. 1 through Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Go to HealthCare.gov for more information.
Visit healthcare.gov to learn more or connect to free, expert help locally by calling Covering Wisconsin (414.400.9489).