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How do you handle health insurance? December 21, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

The Urban Muse, which is an excellent blog for freelance, self-employed writers, had a post about a month ago in which she asked her readers How do you handle health insurance. This seems to be a common question in our field as well.

As Susan so aptly puts it:

Health coverage has come up in the news a lot lately, and it’s a very touchy topic, especially for freelancers. I’m curious how other self-employed folks handle this issue. Do you take your chances and go without? Rely on a spouse or domestic partner for health coverage? Join a union and buy it through them? Perhaps your tips will be useful to another freelancer, so leave a comment and let us know.

As for me, I have a health insurance plan through Golden Rule. I recently switched to the Network Option to cut $100 a month off my monthly payment. I have a large ($2500) deductible and a health savings account that I try to pay a hundred bucks a month into until I accumulate $2500. I’m a little under halfway there at the moment. I also rarely go to the doctor, and I have yet to see a general practitioner since I moved back to the States. I also exercise regularly and try to stay healthy. That said, if I met a man with a good health insurance plan I would marry him in a heartbeat ;-).

I don’t want this to become a forum to debate health care reform. I thought it might be helpful to those just breaking into the business to see how other translators insure themselves.



1. Susan - December 21, 2009

Thanks for the mention! I was a little surprised to see that some of the commenters on my blog said they just went without health insurance. I’m healthy, but knowing how expensive out-of-pocket medical costs can be makes me very reluctant to go that route. In fact, I believe that medical costs is one of the most common reasons that people file for bankruptcy. Very scary stuff!

jillsommer - December 23, 2009

I can’t believe people would choose to go without health insurance either. I had surgery a few years ago and only had to pay the deductible. There is no way I would have been able to afford the actual costs. Plus, health insurance companies negotiate lower rates for medical services. I view my health insurance like I look at renter’s insurance – nice to have in case of an emergency (like a fire or flood) and I hope I never have to use it, but if I do I’ll be glad I have it. I know a couple people who had to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills. I don’t want that to be me.

2. Kevin Lossner - December 22, 2009

How do I handle health insurance? I stay in Germany where I can’t be turned down by the statutory providers. Even with the insurance coverage I had in the US, various minor health issues over the past 10 years probably would have ruined me if I had stayed in the US. So if the US is unable to achieve real health care reform, my advice would be to emigrate to a civilized country. Maybe Canada will accept refugees.

jillsommer - December 23, 2009

I hear that, Kevin! I got really good care when I lived in Germany. I keep telling my Republican friends that the “socialist medicine” care I received in Germany was awesome and extremely comprehensive. I never had to wait to see a doctor and got all kinds of tests done that I would never have gotten done here in the U.S.

3. Craig - December 24, 2009

The more I hear about health care in the US, the less I dream about coming back. See this from a libertarian (!) website: http://reason.com/archives/2009/12/07/why-prefer-french-health-care.

Barack Obama’s mother is a good example of what can happen when Americans try to return home without insurance through their jobs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Dunham#Illness_and_death.

4. Corinne McKay - January 4, 2010

Excellent post! We purchase our own health insurance through Blue Cross/Blue Shield and pay about $460 per month for two adults and a kid. We’ve been extremely happy with the policy but we have a $2,000 per person deductible and we would pay 20% of any inpatient hospital care. Although we are very fortunate to get pretty comprehensive coverage for a reasonable price, it’s horrifying to think that if we had a very major health crisis, even 20% of the total could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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