Why We Are Moving To Canada This Week

by Ester Bloom and Meaghano

Ester: Good morning! ish.

Meaghan: I just spilled iced coffee all over my shirt so it feels like morning to me.

Ester: Fantastic! I’m exhausted so it feels like it should be nighttime already. This should go well. Let’s talk about health insurance.

Meaghan: WOO. The very phrase fills me with dread this week because I think I have it sorted for the kid but I am unsure. They need more documentation and I don’t know how to give it to them (pay stubs? Who has pay stubs anymore?). But anyway: you are about to venture into the land of paying for your own health insurance, too, right?

Ester: You betcha. I spent a goodly chunk of time yesterday investigating various options: the Freelancers’ Union, the New York State Health Insurance Exchanges … The background to this is that my husband is leaving FT employment at the end of this month, meaning that both of us will be living by our wits / on our savings, and uninsured, which is a bigger deal because of The Baby. A situation you know well!

Meaghan: Yes. No way to scare grandparents more! And yes, I was on the phone with the ACA hotline for a very long time a few weeks ago, because basically the baby wasn’t born on my due date so the site was throwing me an error? Men!

Ester: Wait, why are we blaming men? Just because? Never mind, who cares! Blame men, carry on.

Meaghan: Ha, because I assume a man designed the site architecture that gave me an error for being due 5/25 and having a baby 6/3. Anyway! The woman on the line was hilarious — she told me Gemini men were a handful — and then I ended up learning great news! New York State takes care of children sort of?! In that there is subsidized health care for families who don’t get insurance through their employer but make too much to qualify for Medicaid, and it is called Child Health Plus.

Ester: This is exciting news indeed. I discovered, many years ago when I had just started out in NYC and was making very little for my pains, that NYS also covered / subsidized women’s health care. I forget what the program was called but the lovely staffer at Planned Parenthood, where I had gone for a check up, told me I qualified for it and so the state picked up my tab. Thanks, state! It never really made sense to me anyway why health insurance is a for-profit business; why can’t the state / the government just take it all over, please?

Meaghan: Ha, yes! I am unsure if I will end up truly qualifying for Child Health Plus but I have no qualms about it if I do, mostly because I think health insurance SHOULD be affordable.

Ester: And not tied to employment. That we got insurance through our employers never made much sense to me. Only FT workers deserve not to die from, or be bankrupted by, disease? WTF? #SocialistMommyblogging

Meaghan: Yeah, oof! Anyway imagine my delight when I feared I would be paying another $515/mo and look at the income eligibility! It’s a sliding scale based on monthly income. You can make up to $6510/mo as a family of three to qualify for a premium of $60/month. Can you imagine paying $60/month for adult insurance?

Ester: That is such beautiful news that I almost weep to read it. (I’m on the verge of tears from exhaustion/toddler anyway so perhaps that doesn’t mean as much as it might on a normal day, but still.) Some of my investigations led me to plans that started at $1300+/mo for a family of three. $1300+! A month! I told that to a friend and he drily replied, “Wow, that’s even more than my cable bill.”

Meaghan: Ha! I mean, that is approaching my monthly income. And our rent.

Ester: And the amount you spend on food, probably. It’s, objectively, horrifyingly, a lot. And we can’t pay it. Like, maybe I’d give you $1300+ a year, maybe, if you offered me something really awesome in return — like a house in the mountains that comes with a nanny, and a garden, and a swimming pool. And promised that it would never rain, or only at night.

Meaghan: Wow what if it rained only at night? That is an amazing idea, Ester!

Ester: If only there were an app for that! I will make that app, sell it to some silicon valley dudebro, and then I’ll be able to pay $1300+/mo for health insurance. Meanwhile, our current plan is to maybe just insure our witch/tyrant/toddler, and hope that neither Ben nor I gets hit by something heavy.

Meaghan: Oh my god GO ON THE MARKETPLACE?!

Ester: Yeah, yeah, or that. 🙂 I’m in the process. It takes forever, obvs. (Bureaucracy.)

Meaghan: I know, it is horrible. I had to sit down with a person in real life. And I might have to do it again for the baby. But while I am talking about this is anyone in the comments knows what this means LMK: “Self-employment: records of earnings and expenses, business pay rolls and records” I’m supposed to submit that to the state as proof of income. Like, what do I submit? My google doc where I paste in what I make each month? Bleggggh.

Ester: Coincidentally, that is *exactly* where I am in the process of signing up for the Exchanges myself. I looked at the screen and then signed off and hid under the sofa. Of course, my method of distracting / rewarding myself for effort expended thus far was then to watch 12 Years a Slave, so that might be why I’m feeling extra-raw today.

Meaghan: Oh dear. We all need ice cream.

Ester: That’s a good idea. I’m meeting a friend for lunch, who will hopefully buck me up a bit, and maybe we’ll go get ice cream for afters.

Meaghan: Maybe you and I can visit a Health Exchange Ambassador together soon. Or just take a LOT of vitamins and pray. (Plus ice cream, for mental health.)

Ester: GOOD PLAN. xoxo

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