I follow a blog called Eating Disorders Coalition News and Information, which is the companion blog for the Eating Disorders Coalition, a group based in Washington DC whose mission is, "To advance the federal recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority." The group is doing exciting work, including lobbying Congress and Michelle Obama's office for the inclusion of eating disorders in her "Let's Move!" campaign to end childhood obesity. The effort was successful, at least based on First Lady Obama's response, which was that she would broaden their message to include information about eating disorders as appropriate. Excellent. It's a start.
More recently, the EDC's been involved in a debate involving insurance policy. Have you heard the term "pre-existing condition"? In insurance lingo-land, a pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that precludes your being awarded a benefit or even being accepted onto a plan. When I went to the Renfrew Center's outpatient facility in New York City in 2005, I did an intensive (I just wrote intenSati by accident. Yeah, I guess I wish I was doing intenSati in 2005 as opposed to sitting around a table at Renfrew eating take-out dinners and analyzing the meaning of the small object I made with chartruse clay during art therapy. Not that there is anything wrong with art therapy! (Just 2005 Renfrew, in my view.) After completing the program (or maybe dropping out, I can't remember) I was informed that my insurance would not cover the $2000 fee because of my pre-existing condition, which was the eating disorder for which I was seeking help. Again.
The insurance company didn't exactly award my persistent effort to get better vis a vis different treatment modalities or centers. They just saw me as expensive.
SO, the GOOD news I want to share is the EDC is working with the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services on the successful implementation of the health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a provision of which is something called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). The EDC describes the PCIP as a plan which:
* Offers coverage of mental health services including eating disorders as a required benefit.
* Will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, in and out-patient services, and residential treatment.
* Doesn’t charge you a higher premium just because of your medical condition.
There are eligibility requirements (you're a US citizen, have been uninsured for at least 6 months and previously denied insurance due to a pre-exisiting condition) but they aren't very strict. As far as pre-existing condition policy in general, more GOOD news -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in March 2010 eliminated pre-existing condition requirements imposed by health plans. As of 2010, it applies to children u-19 years old but, and I wince as I write this, the less than stellar news is this policy won't kick in for adults until 2014. Come on.
If Congress can eliminate pre-existing condition policy, albeit with the implementation speed and swiftness of a truck of sandbags, I propose eliminating your pre-existing condition personal policy. What do I mean? I'm not sure. I'm figuring that out as I blog here. :) I think what I mean is the kind of rationalizations, excuses and justifications we sometimes use -- I sometimes use -- that prevent growth! Well, I grew up this way, I've been acting like this for my whole life, I haven't been able to do it yet, etc., etc., etc.
Instead of lamenting your past and using it as a way to explain why you're not going to grow, wy not use it to your BENEFIT. When we deeply accept our past and previous experiences, understanding that they lead us to exactly where we are today, we enter our lives from a place of strength.
I am actually starting to believe that HAPPINESS is our pre-existing condition and then we learn all these ways to block it over the course of our lives. Then, at some point we wake up and we're like, Wtf, I'm not happy and I want to be, so perhaps we begin to go to therapy, get a life coach (or just get a life), try new revolutionary fitness modalities like intenSati(!), pursue passionate lines of work that inspire you and others, etc., and what makes the most sense to me is that you are just waking up the source of happiness that's been buried.
Yes. Happiness is your pre-existing condition. So whatever may be sitting on top of it -- fear, complaints, a case of the I'm not enoughs, resentments, an insecurity complex, cravings, or numbness at the expense of your tv, internet or mobile device -- I hope you can let go today!!
Sometimes all it takes is a little shake to wake up the happiness inside you! The book I'm reading, The Writing Warrior, speaks to the value of shaking your body to release writers block and certainly intenSati does a whole lotta shaking!
:) Have a great day,