KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Health Care: My Financial Choices and Lessons Learned

My readers having no insights for me, I've been doing intense research for the last couple of days on ways to avoid going without health insurance. I've found that there aren't affordable insurance plans in the state of New York for sole proprietors like me (see why I'm in this fix).

Other possible financial solutions for my family would include

  1. Moving to another U.S. state: Now that our oldest son's individualized education plan and medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) are as stabilized as they can be and he's blossoming academically (presidential scholar!), we won't move till he's out of high school—and he's in sixth grade now. Our school district is, unlike us, wealthy, so there are plenty of tax dollars for what our son needs. He and society deserve his getting the best academic and life foundation that we can get for him.

  2. My becoming an employee of a publishing house again so that I could obtain employer-subsidized health care insurance: But with the monthly railroad commuter ticket now costing $315 and annual child care costs for only one of my two sons being in excess of $15,000, we'd be in vastly worse financial shape. For most of my 11 years of self-employment, we haven't used child care and thus have saved loads of money. I'm a multitasker; I parent and edit.

  3. Creating a partnership with other freelancers so that we all qualify for group insurance: This is the hardest option for me to wrap my mind around; I went solo for freedom from bureaucracy, and I don't think I'd deal well with having to supervise others or to do mountains of nonediting paperwork.

  4. Moving to Canada: Once our son with AD/HD is out of the public school system, we will look more closely into this if nothing has changed regarding health care in the United States.

  5. Hiring my mother-in-law, who lives with us, as an employee, so that my company qualifies as a group with two employees, her and me: But she is 70 and retired and uses Medicare, so she wouldn't use any health insurance whose premiums my company were to pay, and the insurer would require that if I pay the premiums, all employees use the insurance.

I have learned several lessons from this hunt:
  1. If you live in the United States and must carry your own health insurance, do not live in New York State. Though state law requires that insurance companies offer insurance to all comers, they can charge premiums as high as they wish, thus making insurance unaffordable to most individuals and sole proprietors.

  2. Do not develop any chronic health conditions, even if their genesis has roots in your genes.

  3. Do not be self-employed; owe your life to an employer so as to have health insurance.

  4. Do not have children.

These lessons impoverish me and the rest of the country. George "Rich Boy" W. Bush, get your butt over here and trade places with me for six months. Bet you'd encourage Congress to revamp our health care system faster than your "let them eat cake" mama can count the pearls on her necklace.

April 1 update: We now have insurance.


erinberry said...

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. It is absolutely a sin that every American doesn't have access to affordable health care. Even the most hard-core so-called "personal responsibility" right-wingers would have to concede that two people who work for a living should be able to afford health insurance for their family. Keep us updated.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

It is a sin. The insurance and pharmaceutical industries' lobbyists have our senators and representatives in their pockets, so no reform is happening. I'll definitely post updates. All of this is making it quite hard to sleep at night.

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