She stayed for the health insurance

by Patricia Rice

It started as passive-aggressive behavior from her husband soon after they were married. He used the silent treatment, routinely discussed their private conversations and activities with his family, and attempted to manipulate her into questioning reality and her own sanity.

It escalated to public humiliation and mental and spiritual abuse. Sexual abuse became frequent, despite her chronic health conditions that include lung problems, nerve damage and fibromyalgia.

“He would never accept my “No,” Terry said.

As a textbook abuser, her husband told her that he would make sure no one believed or liked her, so she would have no other option but to stay with him. Then he smiled and got to work on his promise.

He made it difficult for her to parent their children by controlling money so tightly that on many occasions she could not operate her car to get them to school. The money was in the bank, but she had to beg to pay for school and sports fees.

Why did she stay?

“I needed his health insurance,” she said, adding that premiums plus out-of-pocket costs amounted to more than $30,000 a year for her.

It’s a pattern Terry saw repeated when, after divorce, she began volunteering with domestic violence victims and survivors — women staying with abusive partners because they needed health insurance for their chronic conditions and those of their children.

“Bullies seem to look for vulnerable women who they can more easily isolate and control,” she said. “The patterns are clear.”

The Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care works for an Improved Medicare For All health care system for our state and nation. We need to protect people from the predation of a system that leaves them vulnerable and with seemingly nowhere to turn.

If there was ever a need for universal health care like an Improved Medicare for All system, it is to help women like Terry escape the torture of an abusive husband, to get the care and the medications they need without having to go through a gauntlet of insanity.

Staying with an abuser for health insurance?  National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800.799.7233 or the Colorado Coalition for Domestic Violence, 1330 Fox St #3, Denver, CO 80204 Phone(303) 831-9632.

Here’s a Colorado MAP of resources.

The Colorado’s Health Insurance Exchange offers special enrollment periods for anyone undergoing a life-changing event and some qualify for financial assistance: 855-752-6749