Requested coverage: Voluntary Term Life/ADD
Application Status: Denied
Reason: “The coverage requested cannot be approved on you due to anxiety and medication.”
I had to read it again. I had to double-check: denied. I searched for a reason, initially overlooking what was plainly given before confirming that it really was due to anxiety and medication.
My initial reaction was surprise, immediately followed by verbally expressing, “That’s stupid.” I tossed the paper to the side of my desk and went back to work. I went back to working from home full-time. I went back to raising two daughters, one of which was born during the crux of the pandemic in April of 2020. I went back to balancing a side business and outside responsibilities. I went back to a daily schedule without breaks or transition time. I went back to taking my anxiety medication and meeting with a counselor once a month. I went back to life.
But that word and reasoning sat with me. Denied. Due to anxiety and medication.
The more I thought about it, the more disappointment I felt in our healthcare and insurance system. What was meant behind the word “denied” cut deeper than the denial itself. The underlying message: Your life is less valuable if you have anxiety. You are a risk.
And on a bad day, I might let myself believe that lie.
But what’s actually true is that I see the value of my life – which is why I sought help and have kept up with it. What’s actually true is that I am no more a risk than the person who is not taking medication for their mental or physical health challenges. The truth is that I am just as worthy as someone who doesn’t experience anxiety.
I’ve said before that there is nothing wrong with seeking help in the form of therapy, self-care, medication, exercise, etc. In reality, the world needs more people who want to be better and are willing to do things to get there. Who is willing to take on the hard work. The messy work. The emotionally exhausting work. The work that rips off the band-aid and peels back the layers and hurts and restores and develops and brings you out on the other side better.
Perhaps that’s what our healthcare system needs. Perhaps that’s what insurance providers need. To be better. To look deeper into how they assist individuals, not just in terms of medical care and coverage. But in washing their hands of outdated criteria and attitudes. When will insurers and society alike start supporting those who are seeking and receiving help instead of denying and discouraging them from doing the very things that make them healthy, acceptable patients and applicants? When will the hard line between mental health and corporate wealth be drawn and the bottom line stop weighing above anything else? When will mental health matters stop being judged in black and white, and instead allowed in the many shades they are truly experienced?
When will mental health be approved?