I had a little bit of a meltdown yesterday. I was listening to NPR and the speaker stated that the Cobra Subsidy Program ends the end of this Month. So, I had to look into it. For those of you who never had a job, Cobra means nothing to you. But for those of us that were laid off of jobs at Big Firms, etc.--it is everything. The subsidy program provides that 65% of Cobra Premiums would be covered by the Government for 15 months. In my case, that means that I pay $200 a month, rather than $600. $600 is completely unaffordable. And THANK GOD, I was completely mistaken about the May 31, 2010 date. So, the good news is that this subsidy program applies to those that are involuntarily discharged through the end of this month. So, if you're gonna get fired... and you know it... I would lobby for it to happen before the end of this month.
Of course, I had my back up plan. I was planning on getting catastrophic insurance which provides for a high deductible--but will be there if I get cancer or shot or run over by a car. The Health Care Reform Act that was passed is so obtuse. I have no idea whether or how or how soon it will help people like us. I know that the Health Insurance Companies will not be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and that's about it.
I hope that my readers are not among the 17% of the country that are uninsured. It's an odd time in your life. Most people have no need for doctors while they are in college and can somehow self-medicate through their early twenties. I didn't have insurance from 18 until 25 and again, from 26 until 28, because I couldn't get it through my parents and one of the shit law firms I worked for didn't offer insurance. And I was pissed, but not terribly concerned because I was healthy at the time. At the latter part of my stint at Shitlaw & Associates, I started to develop stress related stomach issues. I couldn't keep food down and my boss offered to pay for my doctor's appointments--if I went to doctors that were clients of the firm so that he could barter for services. The problem with this arrangement are the two doctors that owed him money were a chiropractor and a pediatrician.
Whatever. You can see where this is going. I eventually left to a respectable firm that offered my insurance and I was diagnosed. But what I saw in my late 20s and early 30s was at least a dozen girlfriends that had a very similar medical condition--all of whom were uninsured. I always say, if you don't use your equipment, you lose it. All of those girl friends developed huge cysts around their ovaries that had to be surgically removed. I can even tell you how much the operation costs... approximately $10,000. When I say huge, I mean the size of grapefruits and lemons. So, if you're not thinking about insurance and you're about there (as in your late 20s), I think it's something that you need to think about. As we get older, our health fails us in ways you can't foresee.
Food for thought.