Some of you are nodding your heads. Some are rolling your eyes. Others take secret pleasure in the knowledge that our seven-year experiment with a nontraditional lifestyle failed so miserably. There are no shortcuts. No secret recipes. We’re all in the same boat. Playing the same game. Following the same rules. Sonya gave up her career as a massage therapist; she took a full-time job. An office job!

Blah.

At one point, we were rich. Not rich like a rich person thinks of as rich, but today, when I look back at that prior-me, I think “That dude was rich.” I had a spreadsheet. It showed us retiring at sixty-five. You know, rich.

I’m not counting on that retirement anymore. I’ve got kids to put through college. When I’m sixty-five, Arti will still be in school.

Baling on massage therapy… it wasn’t the wages. Massage is a good way to earn money. The hourly rate is amazing. It’s physically and mentally taxing though, so the hours are fairly limited. OK, maybe a little bit about the wages. The real problem was the health insurance.

We’re old(er). Health care premiums are only affordable for the young—those people who don’t need health care. They don’t need colonoscopies, biopsies and hemorrhoid surgery. We were spending $1,300 each month on insurance. That’s more than our mortgage. After our monthly expenses, there wasn’t anything left for extras, for emergencies. And there’s always something extra, always an emergency. Radiator repairs, back to school clothes, yet another crown, Christmas! When our roof started leaking, Sonya sent out her resume.

Her company-paid health insurance alone was like a $15,000 raise. This is where my story could take a political turn. Medicare for All! Middle class adults need to work full-time to afford insurance. The luxury of having a part-time parent at home organizing the household and tending to the kids is financially unviable. Too much scrimping, too many deferred expenses.

This isn’t about my liberal agenda. I can write another post about that. This post is about relief. Sonya started working in August; we’re finally getting caught up. No more worried looks shared when our kids need to replace their sneakers. The roofers are coming next week. Christmas didn’t freak us out.

I liked it when Sonya was home during the day. When she wasn’t massaging, she was running family errands, keeping house, helping the kids with homework. We took that step, she became a massage therapist, because we thought it would be relaxing. Her free time during the week would leave our evenings and weekends unencumbered. It turns out that financial stress is worse than being overbooked. All the extra time was just used to worry.

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6 thoughts on “Health Care for Us

  1. I was just in the hospital emergently for 3 days, with a lengthy recovery process ahead, and three days after I was discharged I received my first letter of insurance denial of coverage for my entire stay as an inpatient. Luckily, by the time I calmed down and called there had already been a chat behind the scenes between my doctors and the insurance company. I work at the hospital I was admitted to, I’m supposed to have ‘good’ insurance, and I’m acutely aware that one serious thing and I could lose my house. If I go on much longer, I’ll be on my liberal soapbox too…. Financial stress impedes health. When the nice insurance woman Beverly said it had actually been covered I wanted to reach through the phone and kiss her. The relief is palpable. There will still be a lot of bills to come, but at least it won’t be the cost of a new mid-size sedan.

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    1. Sorry about your emergency. I hope you recover swiftly and fully. Having a second income to rely on (even when it was a lowish massage therapy income) was always relieving. When I became unemployed, it was rough, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Lot’s of talk these days about medicare for all. Maybe a sea-change is heading our way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My best friend, the music therapist, is not offered insurance through her job either. Her husband never really found his way career wise and they were without insurance for years. They got caught a few times with teeth issues and regular sickness. She did access care through Planned Parenthood – first to support their cause and then for her health (she has had cancer cells removed). Her husband just landed a job at Starbucks and they finally got insurance and finally caught up with all of their physical and dental work needed. I always felt for her – she is doing what she really enjoys and was having the hardest time making ends meet and it helped them so much when her husband got a job with insurance. Happy for you and your situation as well.

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    1. Thanks. Affordable insurance has been a problem since we moved to PA. The nonprofits we work for have higher than average deductibles for employer care. I think she got her job just at the right time: new roof, new furnace, new tires, an insanely expensive trip to Europe coming up that we’ve been promising our kids since they could talk. We’re barely scraping by. Without the paid insurance, we’d be in a bit of trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great. I sometimes think how beneficial it would be to our family if I were to bring in a paycheck. I figure when the time is right, we’ll know. Trip to Europe – that is great. Hope you have a wonderful time!

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