My name is Lilyan Lyle. In 2008, I was given a severance package from Black Entertainment Television where I had been employed for 15 years. My salary at that time was a little over $60,000 with superb benefits, annual bonuses and perks when available.
I say all this to emphasize that all my adult life I never had to worry about health insurance. It was a good thing I had it, because up to this point, and dating back roughly 20 years, I have always had abnormal mammograms. On one occasion, I had a lumpectomy and an aspiration. Breast surgeons were following me closely…..until life presented me with major setbacks. My job ended in October, 2008 and I lost my 100% major medical with Aetna with a maximum co-pay of $20. I could not afford Cobra.
Now I was at the point where I was literally naked, with no insurance protection; an unbelievably horrible feeling.
I had no degree and was considered a little over the hill according to the corporate world. My greatest challenge was to secure a fulltime position with benefits. Fortunately, I have been a receptionist with the St. Joseph Medical Center for a little over a year as a subcontractor, but with no insurance. Daily, I listen to women’s stories of how they are seeking treatment for themselves. Breast cancer, pancreatic cancer stories, etc. Well needless to say, I was very concerned for my own health, especially with my history.
Now begins my Cinderella story: I received a letter from the Baltimore Medical System. Ms. Ophelia Montague called me and asked if I needed a mammogram. To be honest, literally I was so filled with emotion I wanted to cry. With Ms. Ophelia’s help I was able to get the mammogram, the follow-up that was needed and the breast examination at no cost to me. I am so thankful and totally indebted to this program. Words don’t seem to do justice for potentially saving lives.
I am thankful that the Affordable Care Act would allow me to be free from this type of worry in the future. It’s an honor to be given this platform to speak on behalf of the other women in our community with the need and no voice. I agree with the President that health care should be a right and not a privilege.