So, I took a 6-month gig, and I turned down the craptastic "limited-benefit health insurance" I was offered from the temp agency I had to sign up with to take the job. And I lost the Cobra subsidy, because I had to sign up for the temp agency instead of just being freelance, and now my Cobra is $300/month. Which I thought was pretty expensive.
And maybe I'd like to be able to keep gigging, and take those opportunities, now that I've got my monthly expenses down, and I'm living on less. So I started looking for a potentially long-term independent health plan that would cost me less than the Cobra. And I knew that I wouldn't be able to afford what I had before.
But I didn't expect to get an email with three options, all of which didn't include maternity coverage. My first thought was, WTF, I'm 38, not 48! But a Facebook friend tells me that this is the norm now if you're trying to save money on your health insurance.
So look, if you've been reading me awhile, you know it would take some sort of radioactive supersperm for me to get pregnant. IUD, condom, spermicide. It is highly unlikely that I will accidentally get pregnant. I get that.
But the fact is, I *could* get pregnant. In which case, I certainly don't want having to pay the unmitigated costs of a pregnancy to factor into my decision about what to do about it. I think it would be completely irresponsible to get health insurance that doesn't cover maternity care. At the very least, it is not a long-term solution. And I'm not shopping for gap insurance.
What if I did want to get pregnant at some point? Then I would have to go back and get new health care *before* I start trying. Clearly, that would be Big Giant Pain In The Ass 2.
Let's pause to note that my male competition in this wonderful world of entertainment does not have this concern. That kinda blows.
But, it is what it is, so I express my desire for a plan that covers maternity to my health insurance broker, and I get an email with one HSA plan, one PPO that costs the same as my Cobra, and two HMOs that cost over $400/month. And I am completely, totally discouraged.
And feeling better about the cost of my Cobra, but Cobra is not a long-term solution. It will run out, and what if I develop some sort of illness while I'm on it? Then I'm rocking the pre-existing condition when I go to look for a policy.
So, OK, I either find another "real" job so I can get decent health coverage - something that's getting more difficult to do in this business and which will preclude me from taking the very opportunities I've been working my ass off for 7+ years to be able to take, or I accept that I'm going to personally pay $450/month for a health plan I really feel comfortable with. Which means I probably need to work a few more years before I can really entertain gigging in these lower pay, potentially better opportunity positions.
I'm halfway through my 6-month gig, and I've got no idea what the best solution is.
Here's an article I found from California NOW: Looking for Maternity Coverage in California? Schwarzenegger Says Look Elsewhere. Way to make sure disadvantaged people are completely screwed should they become pregnant.
Does anyone remember when an HMO was the lesser option? Now you get a PPO to save money, because who cares which doctor you can see, so long as you can actually see one and get treatment.
Finally, I had this thought that maybe it would be great if Los Angeles residents could get health insurance from the city? Surely there's a plan for city employees. What if we could simply join that group by being residents? It doesn't make sense to me that the growing number of people clamoring for health insurance not attached to a job doesn't create groups that should be able to get a good plan. Why not a group plan for Los Angeles residents? Surely there's plenty of us.