Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

In sickness or in health insurance

What sort of world do we live in where a mature, pretty and leggy blond woman has to create a website to find a husband? A world where healthcare is a growing problem for millions. Terri Carlson, a 45-year-old divorced mother, took to the Internet to form Willmarryforhealthinsurance.com to find a husband that could give her health insurance, putting love on the back burner for now.

During a time when Tila Tequila is looking for “A Shot at Love” and Flavor Flav seeks a “Flavor of Love,” Terri Carlson is actually facing a life-or-death situation.

Carlson is looking for a man she terms a “health care husband” because she cannot afford health insurance for herself. She was previously covered under her former husband’s employer for 24 years, but that all changed when they divorced two years ago. Carlson is now faced with a choice: backbreaking co-pays or food and shelter.

The issue that complicates Carlson’s case is that she has a pre-existing condition, something most companies stray away from or charge more in their premiums for. Her condition is called C4 complement deficiency, an illness similar to lupus. Because of a genetic defect, her body cannot identify bacteria and viruses that she comes in contact with. Her body’s cells end up attacking themselves.

She has been able to survive for the last few years due to COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) health insurance, a plan that covers people in the event of divorce or job loss, situations in which people forcibly lose their insurance. The former housewife currently relies on Cal-COBRA, the state division, as she has already used up the funds available to her through the federal COBRA program.

This form of insurance, however, runs out for Carlson on May 1, 2011. Faced with the possibility of having to pay thousands of dollars in co-payments, or eating all of the costs of her “numerous doctors appointments and dozens of medications” her condition requires, she decided to forgo the romantic side of marriage and seek a husband for his insurance plan. As Carlson states on her website, “I am looking for ‘the one’ with the lowest co-pays.”

The saddest part about her situation is that, despite her current insurance plan, she still devotes 90 percent of her income to medication and appointments. Carlson had to get a job to cover these expenses, but her employer cannot offer her health care. Carlson’s employer specializes in hiring those with disabilities, but because of this, an employer-based program would cost thousands because of the disorders it would have to cover to keep all employees healthy. So she works long hours from home (to avoid contact with viruses), just to get by.

Carlson stresses that hers is not a special case. A link on her homepage shows that she has received hundreds of e-mails from other Americans telling of their health care nightmares. She says she is “just like every other middle American that’s suffering from a pre-existing condition and caught in the middle.”

She also notes that this is not a political issue to her, but that “it’s about humanity.” Carlson does not seek Democratic or Republican support and does not want to get involved with the political machine. She simply wants to fight a fair fight against her illness.

In April of 2009, while Carlson was in a hospital and on the verge of death, she wrote letters to President Obama and other public officials, all of which went unanswered. The heinous fact, that she herself acknowledges, is that she could go out and commit a crime, wind up in jail and receive free health care, on top of three free meals and free access to a gym. She, instead, just wants a companion that is willing to share her load.

“The one” has yet to be found, despite multiple YouTube videos (under the username decoro4) and numerous pieces on her by MSNBC, CBS News and the New York Daily News, just to name a few. Terri Carlson is still on a quest to seek her “Mr. Right,” one that she does eventually want to find love with. She just needs to make sure she doesn’t end up on the streets, or worse.

This is not such a crazy idea. Terri Carlson is simply a mother with a potentially lethal condition that she has no control over. Desperate times call for desperate measures. She is simply trying to use technology to her advantage. She has featured a photo slideshow, including very attractive photos of herself, so it is entirely possible that a well-established man could be interested.

With a sky-blue background, birds and flowers placed around a picture of Carlson’s face, the main page of Willmarryforhealthinsurance.com seems almost misleading. To capitalize on the seriousness of her situation, Carlson features a message at the bottom.

“I know my site looks like a memorial and it will be unless I get health insurance, that’s the point!”

Kate MacDonald can be reached at kaitlynm@student.umass.edu.

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