Everyone knows that we are currently faced with the highest rate of unemployment many of us have ever seen. Lucky for me, I live in the state with the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation. Nevada is currently at 13.5%. Seems to me that the Silver State is looking a little like aluminum foil lately. Nevada is a state that survives on tourism. There is nothing else here. No tourists means no business. Therefore, the Silver State is certainly feeling the impact of the economy.
So are its citizens.
It seems the ones who have to suffer for lack of budgeting and being fiscally irresponsible are the employees. Ah…such is life. Right? You know the old adage..the rich stay rich...
While the idea of staying home & collecting unemployment may sound delightful for some, it doesn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to stay home & get paid! That’d be awesome! While unemployment doesn’t pay much, it does pay. Who wouldn’t like watching Oprah & collecting $200? Oh…wait…not stupid Oprah. I would watch soaps or game shows instead. Or I could write my book. Or be a stay at home mom.
Anyway, the down side is that unemployment is a ‘job’ that doesn’t come with benefits. Benefits are what sustain me. Literally.
I am 95% sure I am getting laid off within the next few months. What scares me more than foreclosure, bankruptcy or mental breakdowns is not having health care. When my office started talking about possible layoffs, I spoke up and said ‘Lower my salary, charge me for benefits, take my vacation, sick days, holiday pay, take what you need to take. Just please do not lay me off. I need health benefits. What means money to you, means life or death to me.’
No one understood. Most healthy people don't understand. More's the pity.
Now I am faced with my worst fear. Being a Type 1 Diabetic without health insurance. What do I do? How do I survive? I have no idea. I have always, always had to obtain jobs with full benefit packages. I didn’t have the luxury of working someplace fun, working part time or going into business for myself. I didn’t have the luxury of taking any job I wanted simply because I wanted. The very first thing I look for when job hunting is ‘full benefit package’. The pay doesn’t even take top standing in my world.
Now, for the first time in my life, I am faced with the fear of not having benefits.
When I try to ask people for some direction, I hear ‘Well, you can get Cobra.’ From what I hear, Cobra is super expensive and will eat up my unemployment check. While it’s wonderful that I can get my pump supplies for less than $3,000 a month, I still have to pay something for them. Just because you have health benefits doesn’t mean you get your medical supplies for free. So, if Cobra takes all of my money, I’ll have nothing left to spend on the medication I’m entitled to buy at a lower rate. Umm…thanks, Cobra? What? It’s absurd. It’s a nonsensical process. What is meant to help me will ultimately hurt me in the end. So….how do I win?
How do people with medical conditions survive when they don’t have benefits?
I work 4 -10 hour shifts, I make decent money, my benefit package is paid for, and I have been outrageously spoiled at a job I do not enjoy. But, I stay because of these things. I stay because of the benefits. I stay because I have a chronic disease that, without health insurance, may not be as well controlled. Not to be dramatic but if I can’t afford insulin, I will eventually slip into a Diabetic coma and I die. That’s the long & short of it. Death.
The way I see it, these are my options:
Find a new job.
Find a new husband with health insurance.
Find a cure.
Oy...those four options are nearly impossible. Nearly because I'll always have hope. Sigh.
Nothing scares me more than not having benefits. Accept maybe a Diabetic coma. Double sigh.