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Health care for the freelance family

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Last week, Sandy and I both talked to a Chicago Tribune reporter, and then on Monday, there we were.

When Sandy left his full-time job in May of 2006 to start his own company, he was incredibly lucky to qualify easily for individual health insurance of the high-deductible variety. He has also been incredibly lucky that, with the exception of a broken wrist a few years ago, he hasn’t needed a whole lot of health care.

In contrast, I would never, ever have voluntarily given up my group health coverage, even though I was unhappy with my job and wanted to do more freelance work. But then my part-time job revoked my health coverage in January of 2009 (which sent me packing to full-time freelance work), and I was stuck with wildly expensive COBRA because Sandy’s individual policy didn’t cover me, and I had a pre-existing condition named Perquackey.

Now, after months of wrangling with a private insurer (whose rates doubled in the months it took them to finally accept my application), I’m finally going to go off COBRA one way or another. It expires at the end of June, so even if I cling to it for a few more months, I have to find something new in July. Turns out, no matter what I choose, my premium won’t go down very much, and my coverage will get much, much worse.

Perhaps this new legislation won’t directly solve my health insurance woes, but I am so excited to think that it might allow others to take some chances on doing things that will make them as happy as Sandy has been running his own business, as I have been as a stay-at-home mom/freelancer.

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