My unemployment didn’t last that long. Though I didn’t work for three months I was still paid for two. Not too awful. I spent a lot of time on my butt on the sofa thinking about my future and what I wanted to do.
One suspicion I had before unemployment was reinforced during it. It concerns insurance.
I was thinking about this because I spent a great part of last night and this morning filling out insurance forms online. As a new employee I qualify as of May 1.
I know this is a controversial subject. People are worried about “Death Panels” and government mandated care. Can we divorce this post from that for a moment?
As I considered my future and the thought of taking a chance and starting a business my thoughts kept coming back to insurance. Without it everything I own would be at stake. I’m not talking about luxuries. Everything is at stake! Get sick, get wiped out.
Doesn’t that make starting a business too much of a risk for anyone with a family?
Without insurance starting a business is daunting! Not just for a start-up either. A close relative once told me she feared moving her small business out-of-state because she might not be able to obtain insurance after the move.
If we’re a nation that values entrepreneurs and small businesses doesn’t universal healthcare insurance encourage that?
32 thoughts on “My Thoughts While Filling Out Insurance Forms”
I was without insurance (health) when I suffered a major heart attack in Dec. 09. The cost of 13 days in the hospital, not to mention going to the clinic to get stablized was as much, if not more than buying a home. I am all for universal health care.
But the Tea Baggers want it this way. They’re financed by Kochs and others, who are fascists. Look up the word; it doesn’t likely mean what you think it does. The Tea Bagger controllers have succeeded, not for the first time, in convincing poor white trash voters that they’re poor because Those Other Poor People took all the money. The 1%-ers, who finance the Tea Baggers, took the money.
I have always been petrified about losing our health insurance. It has been a long battle, after my last back surgery, I was eventually laid off when I was cleared to go back to work. Cobra was out of the question, it cost more than what I was receiving for unemployment. When I finally secured a job (less money, closer to home) I made sure I signed up for long term disability insurance. With my history I did not want to take any chances. After about a year and a half, my spine started to cave in, and the pain was acute. I could no longer work. Now I am without insurance once again, cobra has run out. Private healthcare is too expensive. I have worked hard all my life. At age 11 a paper route was my first job. I got my first “real” job on my 16th birthday. I am not a slouch. Something needs to be done for sure, to make health care more affordable to everyone. My husband is self employed, and we cannot afford health insurance……small business needs to be encouraged and supported.
A single payer system is what works in every developed country except ours. It is one of the reasons that companies relocate outside the U.S. It is a huge advantage for businesses. We are at a competitive disadvantage around the world because we don’t have a single payer system, and everyone else who “counts” does. It also saves an enormous amount of money, which reduces government spending and deficits. When the United States assisted Iraq in writing a constitution for its new democracy, OUR government team made sure that the new government in Iraq had a single payer system spelled out implictly its constitution! They did that because they knew it would make Iraq a much stronger and healthier democracy. Why don’t we have single payer? Because the insurance industry lobby in Washington is LARGE and IN CHARGE.
I agree with you on this point. We linked health care with employment by historical accident. Unions actually brought that system to us through collective bargaining. It worked when health care was less complicated and less expensive (and lower quality- 50 years ago, you didn’t have knee replacement surgery- they gave you a cane, a bottle of aspirin, and wished you good luck.) But today, it’s a huge impediment to going on your own.
Not quite. Employer based health insurance emerged during WWII as a way around wage controls: workers got insurance in addition to wages. That’s where it came from. Unionism had little to nothing to do with it.
Someone has an injury @ work, and the company contests compensation… The sick/vac time runs out… now you’re hurt, no income, no compensation (at least for the moment) and you get a bill for your continued Insurance … now WHERE does that come from? I don’t think that most people in government can understand living life on the edge of loosing it all, can’t conceive of not being able to pay for insurance, mortgage, food and silly lil “extras” like that. *sigh* At the very least health care coverage would be a breath of fresh air when if feels like you’re loosing everything.
To clarify- that’s not a critique of unions- more of a critique that you shouldn’t lose your health care when you lose your job. Universal fixes that. Then… we get into the question of how we pull off universal with the system we have. That’s tricky.
Sadly, for all our arrogance, America is far behind other nations when it comes to insurance. That is the least of their worries for citizens of numerous European countries. And it is all so capitalized here!
But unemployment is a horrifying interval for anyone, especially those with families. It can also be a time where we are humbled enough to become spiritually receptive, and value things we took for granted before.
In the end, it all evens out and we acquire a new awareness and sense of appreciation for what we took for granted in the past.
A new door will always open when a window closes, indeed!
I could leave my job and put myself and two others to work building the business. But the cost of health care for the three of us is astronomical. I’m willing to take the risk as I buy my insurance through my wife’s employer at $5k/year. But I cannot ask two possible employees and their families to risk their health and livelihoods if things don’t work out (enough money to cover all of the business costs including startup for three years). Give me something reasonable and I’m there.
Insurance is a Necessary Evil…..
I know what you mean. I have been self employed for about 20
years and we used to have a great policy but it went up to over
$1200.00 a month, I just could not afford that anymore, so now
I have a basic plan that I have to pay for any visits to the DR.
and have a high deductible but it was the only choice. I also have and different carrier my kids are in their teens so I just
cross my fingers that we don’t ever have to pay the deductible.
My husband and I work together so we are in the same boat. You
are lucky they let you go on May first many company’s make you
wait 3 months.
Know the feeling. Been in business for over 16 years and was force out too by high monthly premiums. Luckily (if you call it that) the last 4 years because of the slow economy for us with high costs and low income pay from our business we were qualify for the Husky Plan with our daughter. It’s interesting this country really has you stuck in a rock and a hard place because if you don’t make enough you qualify but if you do make enough but can’t afford the high premium and can’t buy really good private insurance you’re screwed. We pay our taxes every year of course and now with our governor’s new tax budget I will be paying more in service taxes (sigh) on top of my usual business and property taxes but I am grateful for the Husky Plan which I just received a noticed in the mail that I am renewed for another year. HOWEVER based on this last quarter I am doing better then the year before and if I keep going I will be forced to shop for private plan as I could be “just above” the plan but not enough to pay the high premiums. 🙁 The voters who are brain washed really and don’t get it like “Joe the Plumber” He talks about how to run a business and yet has no idea what he is talking about because he never did. It’s funny…. It’s like people telling you how to raise your kids when they never had kids and vote for things that can seriously affect the kids. Nice huh!
I had a heart attack back in September of last year. I then had double bypass in October of last year. In December, I had a pacemaker put in. 2 weeks ago I had the pacemaker taken out and a pacemaker/defib put in. I’ve had only 1 itemized bill from all of my stays in UMass, the last trip for the defib. The cost of the last trip was $117k. My insurance from my employer, who I am not returning to work with, covered all of it. I’d HATE to even THINK about how much my bypass was. Thank goodness for insurance is all I can say. I dread the day I have NO insurance! That day will come sooner than I think…not looking forward to it. The charges that hospitals put to insurance companies are ridiculous! My insurance company was charged by UMass nearly $900 for a combivent inhaler. I pay only $20 for that at the local pharmacy! Incredible!!!
Universal health care is ESSENTIAL for the survival of our nation. Too many people have to chose between eating,heating a home and medications. This is appalling in an industrialized nation like ours.I have to continue to work after 67 because the cost of Medicare parts B,C and D are more than pension from my employer will me pay if I retire.So much for the “Golden years” looks more like the “Rust Years” to me !!
I get to deal with this issue from 2 fronts and neither is happy. I became unemployed in Sept 09 and have had COBRA coverage since. The COBRA now costs me $711.00 per month. I am single, live with my dog, and since being out of work I have gone totally through my IRA (under 59.5 so am taxed heavily). I am working now as a “contracted” employee-read no benefits needed. So I have to rely on my COBRA for the time being. In my work I am the person who budgets for employee benefits and the offer for this year was 30% higher than last year. This is a non-profit with State funding, we will get no increase how will we cover that large an increase…It is a vicious cycle but i do not see the mucky mucks of the insurance company using their IRA’s to survive. Glad you got a job Geoff…I have been on that couch wondering where my life will go as well. Here is to making it another day!
As I nurse I absolutely agree Geoff, especially for preventative care. People should realize we are going to pay for these individuals anyway. Let us help others to prevent diabetes, cardiac problems hypertension and other chronic preventable illnesses. Also individuals with prior conditions should be able to change health insurances if necessary. My husband and I were able to retire in October and we are lucky to Cobra but it is VERY expensive.
When I worked as a reporter and editor for The Day in New London 1974-1984, we had Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage, plus Major Medical, funded entirely by the newspaper. The MOST we ever had to pay out of pocket in a year was $100. Good God, how the world has changed! I don’t know what the final answer is, but a first-world nation in which the majority of people can’t afford to pay the deductibles for your average health care issues is in difficult straits. And that doesn’t even consider heart transplants, kidney transplants, in vitro fertilization, etc. I don’t know what the answer is, but the problem is vexing.
And, FWIW, Krugman’s column today (NY Times) eviscerates the Tea Bagger notion that health insurance is just another purchase.
But in CT we have an advantage most states do not. If you set up a 2-person LLC, you can purchase insurance through MEHIP — you have a choice of all the state employee plans at the state rates. You can choose from no-frills to Cadillac. Much less expensive than going out on the market for a single policy, and the LLC entity tax is only $250/yr. My husband and I used it for 2 years when he was between jobs (I’ve been self-employed for 25 years) it was less than his COBRA with better coverage.
This was Nancy Wyman’s brainstorm and it is a real advantage for small business in CT.
Ah creeping Socialism!!! Just whisper.
THANKS! for this information. I didn’t not know this and the good thing it looks like we qualify for this next year. I am looking into it.
This is a really good post. And it is refreshing to see intelligent people intelligently discussing a very serious problem. Thanks for bringing it up, Geoff.
Any civilized society is indeed in crisis when all various insurance costs vastly exceed the monthly cost of food, clothing and shelter. I’m tired of the demands of our social darwinists that we are “all on our own” and admire and envy the peace of mind in thriving countries that have managed to work this out.
Really the driving force behind the problem (and many others) seems to be campaign finance.
Bingo!! your are so right! That’s the real problem and it should be changed.
Geoff, as a nurse, I also agree with the option of univeral health care. The problem is that the insurance companies and drug companies have become such big businesses with no regulations. When I worked in home care, there were patients who could only afford their prescriptions or their food and would often not take all of their meds. All Americans should have access to an affordable health care plan, that does not reject people with pre-existing conditions.
To those who keep trying to spew the socialism fear. Since when did LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness become socialism. Since when did equality become socialism. Because someone makes real big bucks means they have more right to health care? Should someone who worked hard all their life for a modest place to live, for food, to bring up their family lose everything because of the cost of health care? Do we throw people to curb as non-essential and useless because now they have no health insurance? Is this the American Dream we are forging for our children?
It`s so true.You get sick and you could loose everything.We need to make sure that dose not happen to anyone ever.
I’ve always been pro-single payor, and I think it would be relatively easy to do – it’s called Medicare for all. Although the folks with megaphones don’t want you to know this, Medicare is maybe the most efficient program in the US. Yes, there is fraud, but it’s insurance fraud perpetrated mostly to try to get more money out of insurance companies. We could also go back to the way health care used to be provided – in a non-profit fashion. It’s the profit that drives insurance companies to do the questionable things they do. If we could take the profit out of healthcare for insurers, we could probably afford to cover every uninsured person in this country. Either way, I think it’s probably clear we can’t sustain the status quo.
Could not agree with you more, Geoff. I have a good insurance plan with a good insurance company but I have one disabled son who is on the state. My younger son works too much to qualify for medical coverage through the state so he just lost his health insurance. I have seen good insurance and so-so insurance and none. We all deserve good quality health care. It’s a shame some people do not want it that way.
I was wondering about that—figured you were covered until the contract was up in Feb. Did you have some way of paying on your own to continue–or are you and Helaine without, til May.
I do wish they would come up with some universal insurance—what gets me now is the gov’t saying that by such and such a year, all must buy insurance. What if one is self employed now, and cannot afford medical insurance with the ultimate deductible, but own too much to get onto Husky. What are they going to do to the person who can’t afford to buy their coverage?? It is going to get interesting, as already there are many doctors who won’t take the Husky program or Medicaid, and some are now turning away Medicare patients.
We bought COBRA for the interim.