Tough Choices for Momepreneurs: Combating the Health Insurance Barrier
I am an entrepreneur, a momepreneur, to be exact.
I was working full-time at a university writing center when I had my second child at the age of 41. It became clear to me that working full time was too much of a strain on my family. I decided to move down from full-time to part-time employment, but instead of improving things, the stress of doing a full time job in part time hours was too much. It was evident to me then that if I was going to be healthy and happy, I needed to make a change—and that change meant starting my own business. The flexibility of being an entrepreneur allows me to spend more quality time with my family while still pursuing my own professional goals. However, despite the benefits of being a momeprenuer, healthcare coverage almost kept me, and later my husband, from making the decision that would improve our lives.
I started my own business 12 years ago as a ghostwriter/writing coach, which meant leaving behind company-supported health insurance. I found that my asthma made my private insurance rates unaffordable. Because of the kindness of a friend and my ability to offer writing services, I was able to join a larger group she runs and get a group rate for my family. Paying a premium of over $920 a month for coverage is "lucky" for us. Without the group, our rates would be in the range of $1400. After deductibles and co-payments, we still spend approximately $22,000 a year on health costs. This means 20% of our family income goes towards health care and none of us is regularly ill. Both my husband and I are entrepreneurs, and the ability to get health insurance allowed to choose self-employment without the fear of being uninsured. So what happens to those families who can’t get the group rate? The fact is that families deserve better options than what they’ve had.
While we are waiting to see if we’ll have better options come October, what I do know is that the Affordable Care Act has already helped our 21-year-old son pursue his dreams with peace of mind. I am so proud of my son. He is intelligent, hard working, and passionate about his future at law school. With top scores on his LSAT, our son is ready to succeed. This may have been a different story though had our son not been covered under our insurance until the age of 26. As a mother, I have the peace of mind that my son will be able to get medical attention if he needs it without being crippled by debt.
I am middle class and sending my kids to college. I can’t help grow the economy or support my children’s dreams if we are just hanging on. Wouldn't it be better if I were investing more in my company? Hiring people? Saving money? Instead, we are one major illness away from losing our place in the middle class. Even with insurance, uncovered expenses could wipe us out. This is NOT how America works best. This is why I joined the Wellness Wonder Team. It will help me get the information I need in a timely manner even when the complications of everyday life threaten to get in the way. I’m also a teacher at heart, and I know that I have the skills to take what I learn with the Wellness Wonder Team to help others understand health reform and what it means for them. I look forward to learning how the Affordable Care Act will continue to help my family while helping other families learn about their options.