So yesterday there was quite the buzz about Obamacare and SCOTUS and healthcare in general.
Let’s be honest – I don’t really understand all of the ins and outs of Obamacare, but as someone with a preexisting condition, I am excited about the idea that denial of healthcare for preexisting conditions will be eliminated under this plan. That’s kind of awesome.
I’m also excited about the notion that insurance companies will – in theory, anyway – have to stop price gouging.
Because here’s the deal: I work for a company that does not provide benefits. This is not my idea of an awesome situation, but it’s not abnormal in this country – many, many companies do not provide health care benefits. As a result, I self-insure.
I can afford this – barely.
In case you’re wondering what it costs to self-insure, I will tell you that I have NO IDEA what the average person pays. But I’ll tell you what I pay – for just me, with $1000 deductible, I pay $515 a month.
I expect it to go up in January. It typically does (although, maybe now … not as much? Fingers crossed.)
Here’s what I don’t have: I don’t have vision. I don’t have dental. If I want glasses (which I do, if I ever want to be allowed behind the wheel), I have to pay out of pocket. This is painful, but necessary. I don’t go to the dentist. Because I pay $515 a MONTH for health insurance. I don’t have the money for the dentist. (At this point, I feel like dental care is a luxury, one for other, richer people.)
If you have grabbed a calculator (or if you’re one of those crafty, do the math in your head folks) you have figured out by now that I’m paying $6180 this year for the privilege of having health insurance.
That’s $6180 that’s NOT going into savings, where it is DESPERATELY needed.
It’s $6180 that’s NOT going to paying off debt, where it would also be incredibly helpful.
It IS covering doctor visits. It covered MOST of the tests on my heart a year ago January, though I ended up paying about $1300 out of pocket. It covers a lot of the costs of asthma medication – a single inhaler can cost over $200, that’s handy too.
Health insurance, however, is burying me. It costs almost as much as my rent, and while it’s comforting to know that I have it, it’s embittering to know that it makes my life more difficult, to know that the panicky “Oh my God, what am I doing” feeling would be gone if I wasn’t shelling out that much cash every month for a service that, with the rare exception, I don’t often use. (Well, the prescriptions and about one doctor’s visit a year. Other than that, not so much.)
I don’t know what the answer to the health care problem in this country is, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. What I will say is that healthcare in America is a dire, problematic situation, and the notion that I am slowly bankrupting myself to be able to continue to have healthcare is making me – well, unhealthy.
I don’t know if Obamacare is the final answer, but I know it’s a start. And I’d rather have an imperfect start than nothing at all.