catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,

Health Care in America

Yay! I got my new health care card today. I haven’t had employer-provided health care insurance for nearly two years now, and the cost of my private policy was draining me dry. (I’ve been working since I was 16; I’ve never been unemployed before; I’ve never been in danger of being without health insurance before, so these past two years were quite a shock to my system. See “long story”.)

I sure hope we have real health care reform in this country soon. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been walking on quicksand, quicksand that has sucked under some of my friends, and I’m only too aware how treacherous life’s pathway has become for so many.

Waves to the Canadian friend on my flist who, when I told her and one of her friends a year and a half ago what was going on with my health insurance, spontaneously began singing “O Canada!”

December 2006: I learn my boss is retiring and selling her business to a new owner – who doesn’t provide health insurance. Retiring boss told me she’d been informed it wasn’t possible to get COBRA continual insurance on the policy she’d been providing as it would no longer exist, so I converted the policy I had with her to a $$$$ private policy. I was able to do that conversion because even though it was an individual policy they couldn’t deny me coverage under their conversion rules. Nor could they cancel the policy for any reason but nonpayment. (For non-US friends, US insurers who provide individual policies are notorious at cancelling them on any pretext if someone actually needs the policy; the companies often make these cancellations retroactive in order to avoid paying out any medical bills their client might have incurred.)

Then in August 2007 the new owner lays me off and I spend the next year on unemployment, sending out lots of resumes, and doing temp work. (I did take the opportunity, when not sending out all those resumes, etc., to learn how to design websites – finally!)

I was really scraping to pay for that expensive private policy, including selling some of my stuff on eBay to pay for it. I tried to find a cheaper policy, but got the middle finger from other insurance providers, despite the fact that, aside from my wonky ankle/foot, the only thing “wrong” with me is hayfever. But as pretty much anyone in my position has found out, insurers will refuse to sell private insurance policies for any trivial reason, including hayfever.

I finally found a new permanent job, and started August 2008. Now that three months have gone by, I’m eligible for the company-provided healthcare policy. What a relief!

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