One January day in 1991, career journalist Jane Fowler, then 55, opened a letter from a health insurance company informing her that her request for coverage had been denied due to a "significant blood abnormality."
"I went home that day and literally took to my bed. I thought, 'What's going to happen?'" she said. For the next four years Fowler, once an active and successful writer and editor, lived in what she called "semi-isolation," staying mostly in her apartment.