When I left my day job at NPR ten years ago (gulp), I went on to Erik’s health insurance with his employer. When he left his day job two years ago to become a freelancer/entrepreneur/construction worker (gulp again), we had a big decision to make. Do we continue health coverage through COBRA? Way expensive. Do we purchase our own health insurance? Also way expensive, and even more so if we were to keep the same level of coverage we enjoyed through his employer. Or, do we risk it and go health-care-coverage-free until one of us stumbles across an employer willing to offer us this important piece of social safety net?
For better or worse, we chose option three. Thank goodness there were no major issues for either one of us in the last two years. We knew we were taking a big risk.
I can say that now because recently we evidently were approved for health care coverage on our own. By our own little selves. This is still in process, but we must have been approved because they have already taken our payment. Hopefully soon we will get our insurance cards.
When I noticed on the bank statement that our payment went through I felt a palpable thread in the fabric of my life get a little stronger. Now, don’t be mistaken, this is catastrophic insurance, our deductible is $10,000 (gulp 3x)… but at least the other members of our families will not be burdened if something horrible were to happen to one of us.
The only reason I’m bringing this up here is to point out that Erik and I are pretty average human beings. We are both smart enough… we just happen to want to work for ourselves and therefore not only are we charged with extra tax due to self-employment, in the past we had been effectively excluded from health care coverage. We are not an unusual case, and this is late in the game for me to chime in to this conversation. I am consciously not making this a political rant, but something is wrong in American society when you are required by law to have auto insurance but, until now, health insurance was your own choice.
As a yoga teacher, I believe strongly in preventive medicine — and in the power of the individual to take care of him or herself through lifestyle choices and behaviors first. But at some point in everyone’s life, a doctor will be necessary, and thank goodness we as a society are a little bit closer to everyone having an opportunity to see a doctor when in need.