Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir

Overview

Growing up in middle-class middle America, Sonya Huber viewed health care as did most of her peers: as an inconvenience or not at all. There were braces and cavities, medications and stitches, the family doctor and the local dentist. Finding herself without health insurance after college graduation, she didn?t worry. It was a temporary problem. Thirteen years and twenty-three jobs later, her view of the matter was quite different. Huber?s irreverent and affecting memoir of navigating the nation?s health-care ...

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Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir

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Overview

Growing up in middle-class middle America, Sonya Huber viewed health care as did most of her peers: as an inconvenience or not at all. There were braces and cavities, medications and stitches, the family doctor and the local dentist. Finding herself without health insurance after college graduation, she didn’t worry. It was a temporary problem. Thirteen years and twenty-three jobs later, her view of the matter was quite different. Huber’s irreverent and affecting memoir of navigating the nation’s health-care system brings an awful and necessary dose of reality to the political debates and propaganda surrounding health-care reform.
 
“I look like any other upwardly mobile hipster,” Huber says. “I carry a messenger bag, a few master’s degrees, and a toddler raised on organic milk.” What’s not evident, however, is that she is a veteran of Medicaid and WIC, the federal government’s supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. In Cover Me, Huber tells a story that is at once all too familiar and rarely told: of being pushed to the edge by worry; of the adamant belief that better care was out there; of taking one mind-numbing job after another in pursuit of health insurance, only to find herself scrounging through the trash heap of our nation’s health-care system for tips and tricks that might mean the difference between life and death.

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Editorial Reviews

Dinty W. Moore
"Wise, irreverent, honest, and utterly compelling. . . . Sonya Huber finds unexpected truth and gentle comedy in every bizarre corner of this insane labyrinth we call our health-care system."

-Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

Sue William Silverman
"The sheer, jet-propelled energy of this memoir elevates it into a tour de force. I found it by turns hilarious and heartbreaking."

-Sue William Silverman, author of Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

Floyd Skloot
"Timely, passionate, informative, and moving, Sonya Huber's Cover Me is a scathing memoir of an uninsured young mother''s encounter with health care in America."

-Floyd Skloot, author of In the Shadow of Memory

Brevity Book Reviews

"What I found so compelling about Huber's story is her ability to make the personal resonate so much more loudly than the political ideas or theories, while capably insuring that her own story underscores her political stance on health care. I found myself wanting to send copies to every member of the House and Senate."—Sarah Werthan, Brevity Book Reviews

— Sarah Werthan

Booklist Online - Karen Springen

"Huber's irreverent humor makes her provocative "health insurance memoir" worth a read."—Karen Springen, Booklist Online
Brevity Book Reviews - Sarah Werthan

"What I found so compelling about Huber's story is her ability to make the personal resonate so much more loudly than the political ideas or theories, while capably insuring that her own story underscores her political stance on health care. I found myself wanting to send copies to every member of the House and Senate."—Sarah Werthan, Brevity Book Reviews
Elevate Difference - T. Tamara Weinstein

"Cover Me is the best kind of memoir; it is engaging, enraging, tragic and funny. Fortunately, laughter as medicine is one thing the insurance companies have not yet managed to deny."—T. Tamara Weinstein, Elevate Difference
Author Exposure - Joan Hanna

"This book illustrates, in a way that mere political rhetoric cannot, how the lack of accessible, affordable medical care negatively affects everyone on a personal, emotional and economic scale."—Joan Hanna, Author Exposure
ForeWord Reviews - Lisa Romeo

"Huber's sure-footed prose considers how deeply connected an individual's health is to being both rooted and free, confident or fearful of securing even the most routine treatment. Once covered, she is safe under that blanket of care, and wise enough to understand that covers are easily blown, or blown away."—Lisa Romeo, ForeWord Reviews
Booklist Online

"Huber's irreverent humor makes her provocative "health insurance memoir" worth a read."—Karen Springen, Booklist Online

— Karen Springen

Elevate Difference

"Cover Me is the best kind of memoir; it is engaging, enraging, tragic and funny. Fortunately, laughter as medicine is one thing the insurance companies have not yet managed to deny."—T. Tamara Weinstein, Elevate Difference

— T. Tamara Weinstein

Dinty W. Moore

“Wise, irreverent, honest, and utterly compelling. . . . Sonya Huber finds unexpected truth and gentle comedy in every bizarre corner of this insane labyrinth we call our health-care system.”—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

Sue William Silverman

“The sheer, jet-propelled energy of this memoir elevates it into a tour de force. I found it by turns hilarious and heartbreaking.”—Sue William Silverman, author of Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir

Floyd Skloot

“Timely, passionate, informative, and moving, Sonya Huber’s Cover Me is a scathing memoir of an uninsured young mother''s encounter with health care in America.”—Floyd Skloot, author of In the Shadow of Memory

Author Exposure

"This book illustrates, in a way that mere political rhetoric cannot, how the lack of accessible, affordable medical care negatively affects everyone on a personal, emotional and economic scale."—Joan Hanna, Author Exposure

— Joan Hanna

ForeWord Reviews

"Huber's sure-footed prose considers how deeply connected an individual's health is to being both rooted and free, confident or fearful of securing even the most routine treatment. Once covered, she is safe under that blanket of care, and wise enough to understand that covers are easily blown, or blown away."—Lisa Romeo, ForeWord Reviews

— Lisa Romeo

Women & Children First

"In this humorous and affecting memoir, Huber details her experiences navigating the American health care system, and brings a necessary dose of reality to the political debates and propaganda surrounding health care reform."—Women & Children First
ForeWord Reviews

"Huber’s sure-footed prose considers how deeply connected an individual’s health is to being both rooted and free, confident or fearful of securing even the most routine treatment. Once covered, she is safe under that blanket of care, and wise enough to understand that covers are easily blown, or blown away."—Lisa Romeo, ForeWord Reviews

— Lisa Romeo

Booklist Online

"Huber’s irreverent humor makes her provocative "health insurance memoir" worth a read."—Karen Springen, Booklist Online

— Karen Springen

Author Exposure

"This book illustrates, in a way that mere political rhetoric cannot, how the lack of accessible, affordable medical care negatively affects everyone on a personal, emotional and economic scale."—Joan Hanna, Author Exposure

Women & Children First

"In this humorous and affecting memoir, Huber details her experiences navigating the American health care system, and brings a necessary dose of reality to the political debates and propaganda surrounding health care reform."—Women & Children First

Brevity Book Reviews

"What I found so compelling about Huber’s story is her ability to make the personal resonate so much more loudly than the political ideas or theories, while capably insuring that her own story underscores her political stance on health care. I found myself wanting to send copies to every member of the House and Senate."—Sarah Werthan, Brevity Book Reviews

— Sarah Werthan

Kirkus Reviews

Huber (Creative Writing/Ashland Univ. and Georgia Southern Univ.,Opa Nobody, 2008) chronicles her torturous efforts to navigate the health-care system.

Growing up in the 1970s in a middle-class family, the author experienced a fairly uneventful childhood and adolescence—during which she was "laser focused" on academic success—marred only by occasional severe headaches. However, by her sophomore year in college, she began suffering from severe panic attacks and blackouts. Initially she rejected the medical recommendation that she take "a little blue pill" and turned instead to alternative medicine. Not only did she entrust her health to a "patchwork safety net of community health practitioners," but after graduation she took paid work as a lobbyist for universal health care. Ironically the job did not come with health benefits, and she began a 13-year slide into poverty. With 11 gaps in health-insurance coverage, her health worsened, even though, when money permitted, she took antidepressants. During that time, she worked at a succession of jobs, including community organizer, reporter at a local newspaper, adjunct college lecturer and a freelance writer, earning two MFA degrees along the way. The author describes her life during those years as a "torrid and twisted love affair with health insurance." By the time she was 33, she was married, although soon to be divorced, and the mother of a young child. The good news was that she had learned to game the public-health system and deal with insurance companies by using "a bit of logic and a bit of force." In 2006, she accepted a full-time teaching job at Georgia Southern, a position that came with major health-insurance benefits. After a thorough medical examination, she learned that many of her health problems were caused by a malformed jaw and were treatable.

A harrowing though not uncommon story.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803226234
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Class in America
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Sonya Huber teaches creative writing in the low-residency MFA program at Ashland University and at Georgia Southern University. She is the author of Opa Nobody (Nebraska 2008) as well as multiple essays that have appeared in publications such as Fourth Genre, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post Magazine.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1 Waiting for the Placebo Effect 1

2 Medical Magic 11

3 Do it Yourself 21

4 Failure to Heal 43

5 Female Trouble 59

6 Healthcare for All, Almost 81

7 Prescriptions 97

8 Employee + Child(ren) 109

9 The Melodrama Discount 127

10 Healthy Start 139

11 Fringe Benefits 157

12 The Price Tag 169

13 Following Up 179

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