Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Reform for the Spoiled

I'm going to totally own that I'm something of a spoiled brat when it comes to health care.

I've always had it through a group plan and, with one, short exception*, through an employer. I've never had to go out and purchase it on the open market where some desk jockey would get to decide whether or not I was "good enough" to have coverage through their company.

I'll even own that I wasn't really aware that private coverage was relatively common until just a few years ago.

The experience I've always had is that health care coverage is provided through your employer (and is one of the benefits I've always looked for when job seeking**). There are no physical evaluations, because it's a group policy and they just accept you.

And, in my world, that is just how it works. So I've never really thought about how it might affect me or my family if we had to purchase health coverage on the open market. In fact, even as I hope to parlay part time creative gigs into full time pay, I had planned on continuing to work the minimum required to keep our health coverage through my employer.

Dooce's post yesterday about the problems she & her family have had obtaining health coverage made me stop and think about what might happen if we needed to purchase private health insurance.

I don't know how much I've talked about this here, but SweetPea is permanently disabled. Her spine is fused and bound in a titanium cage at her L4-L5-S1 vertebrae. Because her spinal injury was work related, her final settlement included lifetime care for the injury, including the fusion and related hardware. But would that prevent her from getting coverage through a private health care provider? I'm guessing it would.

I've been treated for "seasonal" allergies since I was a kid. I'm overweight, have a family history of things like cancer and high blood pressure and heart disease, have had sketchy pap smear results and, oh, yeah, I'm female.

How hard would it be for us to obtain private health insurance on the open market?

I would guess it would be very hard.

I would, in fact, guess that it would be very close to impossible.

Never having to find out is an awesome thing.

Moreover, my children never having to find out is an awesome thing.

Their view on what health care looks like is going to be so different from mine and I am so hopeful that their experience will have none of the hardships that so many others have had under the pre-HCR system.

This is what change looks like. And it's exciting!

*In the interest of full disclosure, MonkeySee and I did have a short stint on state-sponsored health care.

**And, yes, once I don't have to, it might drastically change how I earn my keep on a daily basis. I've heard whispers (ok, on twitter) that self-employment might become more & more common, and I think that's just fucking awesome.

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