With the 2008 presidential race beginning and several states implementing universal health care coverage, health insurance has been in the news recently.
Here’s my take:
Many labor experts and economists believe that workers in the United States stay in jobs they don’t like because health insurance here is tied to their employers. While I broke out of that shackle, I understand why so many people tolerate underpaying jobs that are beneath them just for the health insurance.
When I started freelancing a few years ago, I was on my previous employer’s COBRA plan. It cost over $300 a month. (I later discovered that I could have obtained cheaper insurance, but I had heard it was difficult to find as a freelancer, so I just kept my COBRA. I felt lucky to even have that.)
When my COBRA expired I was uninsured for about six weeks while I waited for an insurer to process my application. Now I am paying about $170 a month, which includes dental coverage. My deductibles are a lot higher than when I had COBRA, but thankfully I do not have any health issues, so that expense is not much of a concern.
While affordable insurance was available—at least for me—there are still drawbacks. A cheaper insurer pays doctors and dentists less than a more expensive one. Therefore doctors and dentists obviously are less inclined to accept new patients from insurers who pay less than other insurers.
Hence, I needed to make an appointment four months in advance with a dentist 75-minutes away to get my teeth cleaned. Unless, of course, I wanted to go back to paying $350 a month for health insurance. I reckon that experience helps counter the claims from opponents of universal health care that it will create long waits for medical treatments. For many of us, long waits already are a reality.
If you are a freelancer and are opposed to universal health care, please let me know why in the comments.