I know, I know. My health insurance saga is not a pretty one.
My husband and I are both writers so we pay for our own health insurance. Because we live in NYC's unofficial 6th borough, Hoboken, we have to abide by NJ health insurance rules rather than NYC ones (even though all our doctors and our hospitals of choice are in NYC--best health care in the world.) From what I understand, and I could be absolutely wrong, so correct me if I am, NJ is so expensive because of medical underwriting. Get sick in a NY hospital and need a kidney transplant and insurance can deny it. Do it in a NJ hospital and they have to proceed. That's why it's so much more expensive.
This means our insurance in extraordinarily expensive because we have to pay for it ourselves. It also means a high deductible and fighting the insurance company on just about every issue. I've gotten used to using the phrase, "well, my attorney says..." and I now am armed with this fantastic woman whose job is to fight these companies for the coverage they categorically deny.
This means that The Writers Union won't insure us because it's too expensive for them to insure anyone in NJ, plus they've had far too many insurance companies cancel coverage for their members in midyear, so now they are only insuring NY.
This means the Author's Guild won't insure us because it's too expensive--well they will if we want to pay $2550 a month for insurance. Isn't the Author's Guild job to HELP writers who are not exactly rich?
This means that TEIGIT (the entertainment industry insurance) will ensure us for a mere $1600 a month.
Our insurance now is only 80 percent hospitalization. Think that sounds good? Last year I had a high fever and went into the hospital for one day. The bill was ten thousand dollars, and it would have been more but most of the tests they did were done in the Er which was fully covered. Turned out the fever was nothing and I had to get a pay plan from the hospital.
But wait, there might be hope on the horizon, and I don't just mean a democratic president--though I am not overly impressed with any of them, to be really truthful. Working Today, the Freelancers Union is a fabulous organization. They offer health insurance where the rates for us, while not cheap, are at least doable. But we need to prove billable NYC client hours. I'm not sure if selling a novel counts and how can you prove how much time you spent reading books to review them for NY sources? It's confusing, but at least it is a glimmer of hope.
Mediabistro.com, another fabulous place also offers insurance, but I'm waiting to hear from their agent. Of course, as soon as I said New Jersey, there was that pause....
I hate doing this every year when the rates rise and rise and rise. I hate having to research plans because I don't really understand them. I hate having to learn to understand them. I hate having to pay exhorbitant sums for insurance and then have to still fight the company to get anything paid for.
If anyone knows cheap decent, non HMO (oh, the horror!) insurance, please contact me and I will knit you a silk scarf or mittens or bake you cookies or edit your novel. You can call me on the phone and I'll listen to your personal problems for three whole weeks!