As a New Years Resolution in 2009, I started WaltInPA. At that point Stogie Review had been around for a little while and was growing steadily. I was beginning to feel burned out and needed a place where I could write about something other than cigars.
Over the years this blog has changed direction a couple of times but one thing has always been consistent. I have always censored myself to steer clear of politics and religion. I’ve even gone as far as to limit my use of profanity (despite cussing like a sailor among certain crowds). By doing so I thought that I would avoid offending my small readership and keep everyone happy.
I think this little policy of mine is long overdue for an overhaul. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to go spouting off about my views on religion or the current state of the country. Fuck that noise. I do, however, want to talk a little about my current situation with healthcare reform.
For a few years, things were going pretty well. My wife and I were making decent money and brought in more than the median income for our area (in the grand scheme of things this isn’t saying much considering how low the median income level is in Reading, PA). We received good healthcare benefits from my wife’s employer.
Things took a took a turn for the worse last year. My wife lost her job and we had to rely on my employers healthcare benefits. Our new coverage wasn’t nearly as good and the premiums were higher. We made a lot of adjustments to account for the massive decrease in income and made due with the healthcare coverage that was available to us.
As lousy as our healthcare coverage was, it was cheaper than buying our own insurance policy. Going without coverage was simply not an option (my daughter has Aortic Stenosis and has to see a cardiologist every three months – which costs about $4,000 per visit).
Leading up to my employer’s annual insurance renewal, we were told not to worry. “We’re a small business and the changes won’t affect us”. I had a bad feeling about it but I trusted my employer.
Things took a turn for the worse yesterday at our annual company healthcare meeting. Our monthly premiums doubled. Our co-pays doubled. All testing and prescriptions are now out of pocket until our deductible is met (which has risen as well).
What scares me the most right now is that we are already stretched thin finically. We can’t make enough cuts in our household to offset the rise in healthcare premiums. Even if, by some miracle, we could find the money to pay the premiums, we would never be able to afford to use our ‘Affordable Healthcare’.
My wife and I have been looking at options but the news is still grim, most private healthcare plans still cost considerably more than what we are currently paying. I can honestly say, I never thought I would appreciate our shitty insurance so much.
As much of a financial burden as this will be, it would have destroyed my father had it happened last year (or if my mother had survived cancer another year). All I can do is put my head down and trudge forward. As bad as this past year has been, things are about to get much worse…