Insurance companies can make a terrible time easier with their security and protection, but they are also notorious for being too harsh with their rules. Many people have stories of being denied for innocent things, but a Boston nurse has an even worse story.
Isela (she requests only her first name be used) is a register nurse for the Boston Medical Center, and she specializes in the addiction treatment program. It's this work with recovering addicts that has made it impossible for Isela to get life insurance.
We've all heard of the opioid epidemic that has killed thousands of Americans from all walks of life. Fentanyl, and other drugs, are powerful opioids that can kill in even small amounts.
There is a treatment for opioid overdose however, the drug naloxone. It reverses opioid overdoses and can give paramedics the time they need to get a person to a hospital.
The epidemic hasn't just affected low-income people or criminals. Wealthy businessmen and famous celebrities have also fallen victim to the drug. The widespread problem requires first responders to carry naloxone on their person, always ready to save a life.
That's why it's so unfair that Isela has now been targeted because of her good work.
She showed up to get bloodwork done, her last step in an application for life insurance. When she arrived however, she found her appointment had been canceled.
"That was my first warning," she told NPR. She says she was told her application had been refused because of her prescription for naloxone.
"But I'm a nurse, I use it to help people," she told her agent.
So common is the prescription that the Surgeon General even has an advisory, recommending everyone carry naloxone. In Canada, regular citizens can go into pharmacies and get a free dose of the drug, to improve the likelihood of saving a life.
The company that refused Isela says it cannot comment on ongoing cases. They did say that more information about naloxone prescriptions is requested when people apply.
Hopefully, as the benefits of naloxone become known and the stigma against drug addiction changes, people like Isela can finally get the respect they deserve.