Tara Subkoff Got Lucky, Health Insurance After Tumor Discovery

Last summer, we wrote about Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff’s terrifying situation: They found a tumor in her brain and she didn’t have health insurance to pay for its removal, so her famous friends — from Chloe Sevigny to Wes Anderson — held an auction to raise money for her care and post-operation expenses. Why didn’t she have health insurance? Amelia wrote that Tara’s sad situation was a reminder for young, seemingly healthy young women to fork over their hard-earned dough for insurance, if they could. Now, in the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar (on newsstands April 27), we hear Tara’s side of the story. The type of tumor they found, a benign acoustic neuroma, was slow growing, and since Tara didn’t have health insurance, she decided to wait a bit before getting surgery, giving her time to figure out how she would pay for it. Since she worked as an actress before and had Screen Actors Guild insurance in the past (before letting her policy lapse when she stopped acting and focused on fashion design), friends came to her rescue and got her a few acting jobs, including a role in “Abandoned,” Brittany Murphy’s last film, enough to fulfill SAG’s quota and get insurance through that organization. Once her insurance kicked in, Tara went ahead with the surgery, and she’s been living in California, recovering with the help of her brother, her physical therapist, and her friends. (The auction money paid for two medical bills, and the rest of the money was returned to the donors.)

Now, Tara is trying to decide what to do next and plans to revive a version of Imitation of Christ and possibly direct a movie. The story of her recovery is incredibly touching, but nowhere does she touch on the importance of getting health insurance (maybe this particular magazine article wasn’t the place for it though). Tara squeezed back into SAG again with the help of friends in the entertainment industry, but not everyone is that lucky. [Not to negate her pain, but she really is lucky. Like so many policies, my crappy insurance company won’t pay for preexisting conditions.–Editor] [Harper’s Bazaar]