I received my COBRA termination notice in the mail. I’ve been trying to calculate when my health insurance benefits will end but now I know I have two months before I become an uninsured American. I know what it’s like to be uninsured and I’m not looking forward to life without medical insurance.
I became uninsured in 1993 when Richard lost his job. The COBRA rate for State of New Jersey employees was $800 a month. We didn’t have the money for the premiums so we didn’t get medical help when we needed it unless our doctor was willing to work out a payment plan with us. I remember the time when I was coughing up blood and begged Richard to take me to the emergency room. We didn’t go to the hospital because we didn’t have insurance.
I was relieved when I got a job with benefits two years later. That job ended in 2012 and I’ve been paying COBRA premiums ever since.
I have no medical problems and take no medication. But I know it is important to have medical insurance at least for catastrophic illness or accidents. Richard and Stephen benefited from having insurance when they were diagnosed with and treated for cancer. I remember the scare we had when Stephen’s insurance company dropped him because of his change in employment status because we applied for retirement due to his illness. He was in the hospital when the insurance gap occurred and it wasn’t easy to get him reinstated without – again the State of New Jersey COBRA premium – and reams of hospital reports to support his claim for State employee retirement.
I am reminded every day in the news about the possibility of buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. My preliminary research of the new program has shown that I might not be able to get insurance. Even with the tax credit, I’d have a premium to pay and that’s not possible without income. I don’t know when I’ll be employed again and don’t know if I will be offered health insurance.
I’m worried and I don’t know what to do about it. My insurance runs out in the same month I will be required to enroll for medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act. I’m hoping that I might qualify for Medicaid but that’s not certain.
Under the Affordable Care Act, some Americans will still be uninsured. I’m afraid I might be one of them.