Thank you, U.S. insurance companies

October 30th, 2008

Like much of America, I have been mad at insurance companies for a long time. I was doubly mad when I turned 40 and my rates went up 35 percent. Like many self-employed professionals, I raised my deductible so I could afford to pay the monthly premiums.

I was triply mad when I went to the ER this summer after having chest pains and palpitations for days (anxiety from overwork between the books and my regular freelance workload; there, I admitted it) and my $2,000 bill was not at all covered, thanks to my newly raised deductible. (In an attempt to highlight what other single freelancers and employees were doing to get around the insurance question, I wrote an article about marrying for health insurance for ABC News.)

Well, yesterday’s New York Times article about how U.S. women who buy individual health insurance often pay significantly higher rates than their male counterparts has my blood boiling all over again. (Thanks to Gwynneth for the heads up on the piece.) Apparently, we cost more because (a) we have babies, and (b) we tend to go to the doctor more than men when we’re sick.

I recently contacted an insurance agent to help me find the cheapest yet best coverage for me. She helped me save $1,000 a year by scrapping the maternity benefits I was paying for, as I’m not looking to get pregnant. Problem (a) averted. As for problem (b), I encourage you to join (free!) the Freelancers Union, a New York-based group that’s been lobbying elected officials for better healthcare solutions for independent professionals on a national level. And of course, vote on Tuesday.

Entry Filed under: The singles table,This freelance life

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Liz  |  October 30th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I share your frustration! i got my own private insurance earlier this year and had to take a plan with a high deductible as to keep my premiums low. Then a couple months ago, after discovering a mole on my shoulder changing color, I went through the necessary steps as instructed by my insurer… Got a referral to a dermatologist from my GP, went to an “in-circle” doctor. I was really happy when I heard back from my skin doc that the mole was benign. I was not-so relieved however, when i got a bill totaling DOUBLE my monthly premium from the lab costs and was told by my insurance company that because the mole was found to not cancerous, that removing it was considered a “cosmetic procedure.” Supposedly, the better way for me to handle this would’ve been to wait until the cancer spreads and the symptoms become obvious enough that it is sure I am removing a cancerous mole and not having a vanity procedure! UHHG!

    VOTE, people!

  • 2. Michelle Goodman  |  October 30th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Liz, ugh. Sorry about that. Maddening indeed, especially since you were in effect saving your insurance company money by not WAITING TO GET CANCER, which can cost thousands of dollars a week to treat!

    I’d love to collect more “my insurance company is an ass” stories from folks who care to share. Maybe I can turn them into an article (I will check with you all before quoting anyone). At the very least, I’d love to pass this thread around the web.

  • 3. Stephanie  |  October 30th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Major society FAIL! That makes me so mad!

  • 4. Bihter  |  November 5th, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Hi Michelle,

    Just wanted to say that I’ve started reading your blog. I’m wondering if you have heard about the book, “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business”. I heard the guy (Chris Flett) on the Today Show and thought you probably have already heard of him. I’m wondering what your thoughts were. He seems to be really taking on the ‘Old Boys Club”. I just emailed him, but haven’t heard back.

    Anyway, keep up the great writing.

    Best,

    Bihter.

  • 5. Michelle Goodman  |  November 5th, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Curious. You wrote the same post here: http://laurenandemira.com/2008/1030seattle-urban-craft-uprising-december-6-7/#comments. So to answer your question, yes, I have heard of him. :)

  • 6. 52 Faces  |  November 10th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Great ABC News article – I bookmarked that one!

    Yup, it’s always been a struggle. I had great health insurance as a film and TV actor and a grad student, but since then it’s been temp jobs and freelancing gigs and the “I don’t need insurance” game that both I and my cook roommate play. (She’ll be sous chef soon and finally insured, lucky her!)

    My fag offered to marry me for health insurance, since he and his love CAN’T (stupid state) – now that’s friendship!

  • 7. Michelle Goodman  |  November 10th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks, 52. And thanks for telling your tale. That IS friendship, for sure.

  • 8. Bihter  |  November 11th, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Hi Michelle,

    I’ve been doing some additional research on the author, Chris Flett, that I talked about on my last comment. His company is “GhostCEO” (www.GhostCEO.com) and his book is a bestseller. I found it on Amazon here. Anyway, he was in the NY Times last Sunday under the “Career Couch” and he makes reference to women’s blogs like yours so I thought you might like to connect. I’d like to see you interview him and see what he’s all about. I saw on another blog he was a guest blogger. His email is: chris@ghostceo.com

    Best wishes,

    Bihter.

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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