In sifting through the Etsy forums today, I came across yet another seller with hopes, dreams, and ambitions of finding success as a full-time seller and finally being able to ditch that pesky day job. Who really needs a pay-check anyway? Well, truth be told the greatest challenge facing small business and certainly the greatest hurdle facing NiciArt isn't financial security and staying competitive rather simply staying healthy and being able to obtain basic medical coverage.
While the rest of the world seems to view medical care as a human right, I can happily report that healthcare remains a privilege and luxury in the US. After having high hopes for healthcare reform through Obamacare or a badly needed shift in public policy, the disaster facing small business continues unabated and driven by corporate greed.
The NiciArt Healthcare saga began with Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico in 2006, where we happily paid $237 per month for rather comprehensive care and enjoyed the ability to see almost any doctor at any time. As the years continued, every December we found ourselves looking forward to kindly worded letter starting with:
"Due to the rising cost of healthcare, your premium will now be adjusted to..."
The excitement peaked in 2014, when our care eclipsed $1200.00 per month and attempting to gain coverage in Arizona on a similar plan would mean premiums on the order of $2000.00 per month. As 2014 came to a close, we were excited about Healthcare.gov and were finally able to purchase a new plan with much better benefits for about $700.00 per month. At the same time, our beloved plan in New Mexico was discontinued for not meeting certain criteria of the healthcare reform. 2015 ushered in a fantastic year of having rather "affordable" healthcare with great benefits. The timing could not have been better as in one year we managed to get rear ended in car accident and I had all the joys of food poisoning most likely from one of Sedona's finest sushi restaurants. If you have ever wonder about sushi in the desert, my suggestion would be to stick with the rattlesnake burgers.
In 2015, we received another lovely letter from Blue Cross and Blue Shield saying all PPO plans were being discontinued and we could sign up for one of their HMO Plans for about $200.00 more and receive coverage with an amazing 7 different providers in Scottsdale Arizona. Having such a vast array of choices, meant uncorking a bottle of the finest champaign to celebrate the moment. Needless to say, we settled for a PPO plan with rather awful benefits from Healthnet and had to wrestle a maze of obstacles for 4 weeks just to get coverage. Now we can look forward to an out of pocket max of a very affordable $15,000 and a mere $6,000 deductible.
Where we once saved for a romantic getaway for 2, we will now be saving for the ultimate luxury, getting sick.