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Sunday, October 06, 2013

If you want it

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From the archives.

* After uncounted attempts to sign-up at healthcare.gov over the last five days, I finally got registered. Yay! That's as far as I got, though. They have to verify your identity, which is cross-referenced with your credit report at Experian. Seriously? And there I sit, because Experian said the information I entered didn't match their information on me. I guess they know who I am better than I do. And they're closed on the weekend, so you can't call.

They, as in the government, don't make getting this health insurance easy. But maybe that's a good thing. If you somehow manage to make it past the sign-up process, they will certainly be assured you really want it. Really need it. I mean, what kind of person would put herself through this just to check it out? Just for kicks?

So, during the process I couldn't help but think back to the times I actually did have health insurance. Starting with just my full-time working career, which has been virtually uninterrupted since I was 17: For about the first couple months, I was still on my dad's insurance. But that got cancelled when he lost his 25+ year job due to a labor dispute (that's putting it mildly; it was actually one of the longest strikes in Springfield history and they never went back).

I was insured again from 1980 to June of 1984 (had insurance when first kid was born, but not second; don't worry, taxpayers, I paid for that, not you). And, then again for two years from 1986 to 1987. Finally, from June of 1997 to January of 1998. All of these health insurance policies were provided by employers, and don't count the times I bought insurance on my own. Unfortunately, the few times I did buy my own insurance, I ended up cancelling because other expenses (rent, groceries, day care) were a higher priority.

Most of the jobs I had came without insurance. As a matter of fact, the first thing they make perfectly clear upon giving you a job offer is, there will be no insurance. You take the job, anyway, because that's the nature of working for a sole proprietor. I've never worked for a rich lawyer.

The problem is, they don't pay you enough to be able to afford your own insurance. The guy I worked for from 1989 through most of the 90s had insurance through his wife's work, but that got dropped when they got divorced. And since he needed insurance, and couldn't afford it on his own, we moved in with another firm that gave us both insurance. But, then he died and I lost my insurance when I had to move on.

I must sound like the drunk guy swaying on his bar stool at the lonely end of the tavern in the middle of the afternoon, crying to anyone who will listen, and not listen because who cares when you're drunk, about how life has done him wrong. I'm not that guy. I'm not crying over my situation. I take full responsibility for my plot in this life. I know where I made my mistakes. And they were my mistakes. I can even pinpoint the moment where I made the decision that set me on this course. But, that is another story for another day.

One good thing, for the first time, I can afford my own insurance, now (even though I work for a sole proprietor). I think.

* Here it is. Come and get it, but you better hurry 'cause it's going fast... (Badfinger! Sorry, Paul, this is better.)

Posted by Marie at October 6, 2013 12:07 PM