You watch the news and hear the numbers about unemployment, uninsured Americans, foreclosed homes, but it doesn't seem real.
Until it happens to you, I guess.
My mom is in a waiting game, hanging around until she gets the call that she's been laid off. It is a certainty she'll receive the call. She works in a California public school, and she's been told the call is going to come soon. Very soon.
She is also wading her way through the disastrous web of information regarding retirement, Social Security, pensions, and health insurance. Ahhh, health insurance. I never imagined I would hear so much about health insurance from my parents, and I never imagined it would hit so hard, so close.
My parents cannot retire, because they cannot afford health insurance. My dad has diabetes and some heart problems, and this makes them ineligible for lots of different programs until he is 65, at least, which means my mom needs to keep working for at least a few more years. Health insurance for them now is prohibitively expensive. We're talking $1,000+ per month, which would be bad for anyone, but especially for two people living off of Social Security and their savings. Even if one or both of them finds a part-time job, which will be hard because no one wants to hire older adults, they'll still be struggling just to pay their premiums.
My mom spends her evenings researching different health care possibilities, and even considers not going to doctor's visits because she doesn't want to be flagged with a pre-existing condition that will make it difficult for her to receive health insurance also. At least if it is only my dad, she'll wait a couple of years and then he'll be eligible for Medicare. She has a few more years before she'll be 65 and eligible herself.
Tell me in what world it makes sense for my parents to feel trapped and frustrated and worried and lose sleep and PUT OFF MEDICAL EXAMS because they are worried about health insurance???
It is crazy and infuriating and makes me want to cry because I know how worried they are about all of this. They've even talked about moving back to Argentina because health insurance is guaranteed there. So they'll leave the country they've lived in for 35 years, the country to which they are citizens, where their daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren live, just because they can't afford to live here if they have to pay for their own health insurance.
Totally fucking fair, that's what this is.