Michelle: Concerns of Going Solo
Hello again you wondrous mommy go getters.
How do we do this? Juggling school, dreams, work, doctors visit, chronic problems and pets and friends and…pant…pant…breathing?
It’s T-minus 1 and 1/2 weeks till I drop out of the work-a-day world and go solo. I still don’t have my office done, I still need another bank account. My bank books are a little behind. My new website design and business cards are a bit lacking. Why yes! I know there is currently blue links on my new blue website. I promise I’m working on it. Really. I’m also behind in getting my soon-to-be-former company settled and transitioned. Plus they need me to save them from themselves by Friday afternoon. Can you say Backup Frenzy 2010?
Despite all of this I feel pretty confident. There is one looming problem that I’m not sure how I’m going to deal.
This is part of why working from home writing is so good. I can do it when I’m sick. In fact I generally work when I’m sick on my freelance web design, writing and video game playing. Don’t laugh, I write about games…I kind of have to play them. Don’t hate me.
But as I said, I’m sick. I have hypothyroidism and PCOS both of which are medicated and under control. Recently I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Worse, I’m under a current attack from my apparently chronic kidney stone problem.
What’s the bestest part about all this besides the fact that none of this will actually kill me? It’s all considered pre-existing conditions, or in the case of PCOS automatic denial for new insurance. This came as surprise to me too considering my PCOS has been covered by insurance for the last two and half years. I only found out as I began to look at self-employment insurance options. The only insurance I qualify for is catastrophic insurance which is high deductible or high monthly payment. Neither of this options are affordable or worth the effort. So what do you do in this situation when you’re not in a country that has universal health care? Consider your options:
If you have the money get started with a HSA.
A health savings account allows you take out money before taxes to save for health costs you know you’ll have. You’ll need a couple thousand dollars to start one and there are some hefty rules to follow.
Talk to your doctor.
Some doctors will work with their patients by setting up payment plans, finding affordable medications or getting you in touch with organizations that can help. Some will even give you discounts as long as you need them. Check out hospitals in your area, in case you need hospital services. While the non-profit might have high marks, it might charge thousands of dollars for the same procedure that the local urgent care only charges a couple hundred for and does better. Trust me, I owe over $20,000 to a local non-profit hospital for a two hour morphine drip that the urgent care only charged $600 for and treated me much better too (the non-profit called me a drug dealer, even with the CAT scans showing kidney stones).
Put the money away yourself.
Save the money you’d be sending to insurance in a regular account for doctor’s fees and medications. You won’t get the HSA benefits but you will have some money for when things come.
Don’t get behind.
If you do have to deal with an expensive illness, setup payment plans right away. If you don’t you will incur insane charges. Question you bills. Don’t let them bully you and don’t take out another loan to deal with it if you can help it.
See if your children qualify for any state health programs.
While you might not qualify, your children might. A lot of companies won’t insure children if their parents are not on the account. But if you have no other options for them a lot of states have CIP offerings.
Finally, do what you can. I’m lucky. My medications are cheap and I only need to see my doctor every few months. I know what to do if I have an attack or feel lousy. Plus I can keep working. Making the decision to go without insurance can be scary but it can be done. And frankly, your not alone. I have had insurance for the past 12 years non-stop but they still won’t cover the stuff I have. So I’m used to paying the bills. Life gets you sometimes, but you don’t have to let it get you down. My decision to follow my dream and not be held hostage by the insurance company isn’t a light one, but I feel it’s the right one. This might not be your only option, especially if you have a spouse with a regular job. Check each option carefully and make the decision that’s right for you.
excellent practical advice! thanks for doing the leg work. i know how tough it can be after dealing with insurance issues around my son’s autism and early treatments. haven’t even thought about it for myself and writing from home. then again, my family is covered by my husband’s albeit lacking, insurance through his work.
Michelle, this is excellent info.
Your attitude is impressive. I feel like a mega wimp when I think about the physical pain you must be in — and that you soldier on without complaint. Go you!
Oh I complain a lot. But sometimes you just have to come to realization that you have no control and when you have no control you are free.