U.S. Health Insurance — Down the Rabbithole

I’m feeling a bit down today.  Our healthcare coverage plans aren’t working out like we had hoped.  J and I haven’t qualified for insurance through our university for a while because, though we are still wrapping up our masters projects, we are not full-time students.  And, oh yeah, we’re finishing our degrees while living in another state.  We’ve been working various jobs over the past year, but it’s all been temporary stuff.  This is great in that it has allowed us to pay the bills and even save up a bit so that we can continue to pay bills in between jobs; it’s not so great in that the jobs did not have health insurance options, and we are officially too well-off to qualify for Medicaid in our state.  Actually we could qualify based on income, but if your assets are greater than $5000 once you add up all bank accounts and personal vehicles, you still don’t qualify.  I’m a bit irritated at the personal vehicle add-on because it’s pretty hard to operate without one in today’s world.  This is extra true with natural resources work, where travel to remote field locations is often a part of the job.  Anyway.  J and I aren’t driving lambourghinis, but we have two reliable used vehicles plus some savings, and we don’t qualify.

The hardest part of all this is that, while we might be able to pay the quoted price for a straight-forward vaginal delivery at the hospital, the cost of a complicated birth is a huge unknown and could easily put us $20,000 or more in debt.  This big unknown scares me a bit, and I’m frustrated at how hard it can be to know what to do.  I did look for other insurance options after the grad school coverage ceased and before I got pregnant, but this was all before Obamacare began to kick into gear and all the private insurance options I found were really expensive, had astronomical deductables, big co-pay percentages, and didn’t cover maternity anyway.  Maybe there was something good out there and I missed it, but until you find yourself trying to navigate the brutally unhelpful sea of U.S. healthcare and family planning options, you don’t know how hard it is to make wise, informed decisions.  What J and I did know at the time was that we were (are) both in our thirties, and the window of time for having kids is now.  So we made our own plans.  I got pregnant.  And I’m still happy, just worried.  Neither of us has been in debt before, and our first encounter with these federal assistance type programs (we’ve never applied for Unemployment Assistance either, because we were always able to support ourselves from one job to the next) has been disappointing.  We’ll be checking out the new Obamacare website next, and I hope it’s a lot less buggy and a lot more functional than the news has been leading us to believe.

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