We're beginning another occassional series of stories from Massachusetts residents who were recently, or still are, uninsured. If you want to post your story, you can comment below or send me an e-mail(email@example.com).
Thanks for reading, Martha Bebinger
John Kulig lives in Central Massachusetts. He works 2 part-time jobs as a chiropractor and as a physiology instructor. Neither job offers health insurance. John purchased insurance in time to avoid the penalty on his 2007 tax return. Here is his description of that process and his concerns looking ahead.
In October 2007 I had the opportunity to attend a weekend informational meeting sponsored by the Health Connector at the YWCA in Worcester. The most comprehensive plan, in my opinion, was the plan offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. But at $400.00 per month it was quite expensive and beyond my means. I also spoke with a representative from Fallon Clinic. I was surprised when she stated that my working two part-time jobs was a "life style" decision. (It isn't - I have not been able to find full time employment.) Fallon's plan was approximately $300.00 month and allowed me to see my current physician but there was a $2000.00 per year deductible.
The representative then gave me a phone number to call. After several days of leaving messages, I was directed to a web site. I was emailed an application but was not able to personally contact a representative at Fallon on line. I found Fallon very difficult to deal with. Most of the other plans offered by the Health Connector also had $2000.00 per year deductibles.
While at the October meeting I had the opportunity to speak with a Health Connector Official in the hall. I asked him why the health care reform law was based upon income only and NOT income vs. expenses. He just smiled and stated a person could file for an exemption. When I asked what the guidelines would be for an exemption, he said he didn't know-they hadn't been developed yet. His smirk made me feel as if I was being patronized.
From a fiscal point of view, it made more sense for me to pay the fines rather than purchase health insurance. However, I also realized than having health coverage is important. With the December dead line approaching, I finally purchased a health plan, independent of the Health Connector, but one that met the guidelines of the Massachusetts Health Care mandate. But the plan I purchased is less than desirable. While the monthly premium is $275.00, it has a $2000.00 deductible per episode not per year. If I get a kidney stone, I pay the first $2000. If I break a leg that same year, I have to pay another $2000.00 deductible. It does, however, cover annual eye exams, routine laboratory testing and medical treatments if I'm diagnosed with cancer.
At this point in time I have three important tasks ahead of me:
1. Search for affordable health insurance with better coverage
2. Find a third part-time job to help pay for it or...
3. Continue to search for fulltime employment with benefits.
This program aired on March 11, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.